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Speedcut tackles massive football pitches construction job in London

SPEEDCUT CONTRACTORS are carrying out one of the biggest football pitches construction jobs in London, developing a five hectare (12 acre) site for Kidbrooke Playing Fields in Greenwich.

The Kidbrooke site is home to Long Lane Junior Football Club the largest junior football club in London and one of the largest in Britain.

It has more than 30 teams from boys (under sevens) and girls (under 10s) to senior teams for men and women.

The new pitches project was a challenge for Speedcut because of varying levels on the undulating ground but staff used their laser-guided Caterpillar D6 to create level pitches.

Work began last November but was halted by the weather and restarted in March, with final seeding carried out by the third week of April.

After stripping topsoil, regrading the subsoil and laser levelling to FA-accepted gradients, the Speedcut team installed a complete primary drainage system after replacing the topsoil and cultivating.

More than 2,000 tonnes of sand was then applied to the surface to ameliorate the topsoil.

After light grading, a BAR7 dwarf perennial ryegrass mix was sown, the topsoil having been given a fertiliser application.

The dry weather has been a problem because there is currently no irrigation on the site, said Speedcut contracts manager Kevin Smith.

Once rain has arrived and the grass is well established in the summer we will sandband the whole site and then apply two further dressings of sand.

Consultants on the Kidbrooke site were TGMS (Turftrax Grounds Maintenance Systems) and the project was jointly funded by Greenwich Council, The Football Foundation and Long Lane JFC.

When completed the site will provide pitches for the largest junior football club in London and have a variety of football pitches, including mini and junior.

Said Kevin Smith: We were pleased to be working as part of a team with Turftrax, the club and Greenwich Council.

This is a massive project and we are delighted at the results so far. We just need some rain to arrive after this exceptionally dry spring.

Mick Northwood, chief executive of Long Lane JFC, said: Speedcut have done an excellent job and we are looking forward to developing the clubs football talent on what will be exceptional playing facilities.

Contact Speedcut Contractors on 01865 331479.


Long Lane Junior FC was formally constituted as a football club in 1981 and is affiliated to the London FA, London Youth FA and Kent FA.

The club currently runs over 30 teams and plays in the Kent Youth League, The Kent Girls & Ladies League, The South London Alliance League, Bexley & District Junior League, Greater London Womens League and The Selkent League.

The fact that after 25 years founder members still play for the senior teams says much for the club’s spirit.

Historically the club had used school and park pitches in various locations but had never had a central venue that they could call home. Then they settled at Kidbrooke Playing Fields.

Originally only two or three games were played on any Sunday on the five pitches but, after prolonged discussions over two years with the local authority, it was finally agreed they could refurbish the club house and now matches are played on a Saturday and up to sixteen on any Sunday.

To date the club has spent upwards of 150,000 on improvements to the clubhouse with many parents giving up their spare time to contribute to work on the pavilion.

They have sole use of the ground at the weekend, and defer to local schools during the week, they of course benefiting from the work the club had carried out.

In 1997 Long Lane became one of only a handful of Junior Football Clubs in the country to achieve full charitable status. In December 2001, after five years of trying, the club was awarded a record grant of 894,264 from The Football Foundation and 31,000 from The Football Association.

In addition to the grants, club members raised a further 103,000 and the money paid for the All Weather floodlit pitch, the new car park, new dressing rooms and a completely refurbished clubhouse which includes a gymnasium, a Sports Injury Clinic, a Club Shop and Club Office which completed its PhaseOne Project.

Another landmark for the club came in May 2002 when the Football Association named Long Lane JFC as its National Charter Standard Development Club of the Year 2002.

The club was one of the first to receive the FA Charter Standard Development award which the Football Association gives to clubs that prove a continuing level of good practice in the running of their Club and the care and treatment of its members.

Long Lane JFC has also gained status as an FA Community Club and this year won the FA Charter Standard Club of the Year award for the third year in succession, these awards truly rounded off a wonderful phase in the Clubs history.

In 2003 the Club completed its PhaseTwo project which included improvement work to the car park and the installation of an extension to the artificial training pitch.

Grants totalling 254,000 were received from the Football Foundation, the London Marathon Trust and Greenwich Council.

The current 500,000 grass pitch drainage and levelling project brings the total raisedfor Long Lane JFC projects to around 2million.

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