Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club's plans for an artificial games pitch/multi-use games area with fencing and floodlighting in Tring have been approved.
The decision was made at Dacorum Borough Council's Development Management Committee meeting on Thursday, October 15, the committee voted nine to one in favour of the application.
The club applied for planning for an artificial grass pitch at Cow Roast, in Tring, which the club believes would put Dacorum and this corner of Hertfordshire on the hockey map.
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Roger Macklin, chair of Berkhamsted and Hemel Hockey Club and lead on the clubs Astro Team said: "I really can't believe its happened and need a week off to come to terms with what we've achieved.
"I'd like to go on record and thank Nick Burles, Nick Cave and Roger Payton who are top of my hockey Astro Team fantasy league!
"This unique opportunity for a community investment, was not one that members of the Development Management Committee will have seen very often or have had the honour to decide upon.
"The facility will see massive economic benefits for Dacorum and the effect on physical and mental health will be immeasurable!
"This facility will create something that has huge value…a community asset and investment from land that was otherwise trapped between the A41 and an industrial estate."
The decision sets the club on a path to build a state-of-the-art pitch with lighting and to rightfully put this corner of Hertfordshire on the Hockey map.
The ability to attract top quality players and to compete at the highest level have previously been impossible, seeing most of the clubs nine teams playing ‘home games’ on suitable Astro pitches miles away and frequently out of the borough.
The public support for the development was enormous and the arguments put forward by the club's Astro officers and a few visionary committee members, sold the idea to the Development Management Committee.
Lara Pringle, ward councillor for Northchurch, argued on the Clubs behalf, she said: "As councillors we should be supporting local providers of top-quality sporting facilities rather than driving them from Dacorum.
"Berkhamsted is already notable for its lack of green recreational space.
"It makes no sense to with one hand remove this superb local facility, already used by many other sports clubs and for recreational activity, bringing generations and families together to enjoy healthy activity, whilst simultaneously planning with the other hand to build extensively within the local green belt.
"Turning down this proposal will be highly detrimental to the amenities accessible to the local residents and this is contrary to the aims of our Sports Strategy."
Jon Clarke, Northchurch Parish Chair said: “Our key aim is to provide opportunities for local people to improve their physical health and mental wellbeing - very much in line with Government guidance on coronavirus, and with the National Planning Policy Framework which says that “Access to high-quality open spaces and opportunities for sport and physical activity is important for the health and well-being of communities."
He added: "The hockey club is the biggest sporting facility in Northchurch - local people can get fresh air and exercise, experience the countryside, and enjoy each other’s company.
"We are working with the hockey club to plant thousands of wildflowers both inside and outside the ground.
"Besides hockey, they run a wide range of sports including football, rugby and even archery. A thriving hockey club lies at the heart of our community and its members are the glue that hold it together."
Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead Hockey Club run five Men's and four Ladies league teams, 13 years to 80 years, playing competitive sport every Saturday between September and April.
If you’re interested in Hockey or sport in general and would like to know more, visit: berkohockeyclub.com.