GIVING the green light to Tatton Estate’s housing plans for Knutsford would mean the end for Knutsford FC at Manchester Road.

So warned club chairman Jimmy Evans as he spelled out his view of the impact on the football club of plans for up to 300 homes off Manchester Road.

Knutsford FC has been a Cheshire FA member since the 1890s and has an award-winning ground, and Mr Evans wrote an impassioned letter to Cheshire East Council objecting to the housing scheme.

The club has also won the support of the Cheshire FA, which has written to express its ‘very genuine concern and dismay’ over the scheme, which it said had serious implications for the club.

Mr Evans said the club objected to the application with the club grounds included in the new extended red line outline boundary for development.

He said: “We are very concerned it would leave the club open to housing development pressure and provide access for adjacent development that would impact the playing of our sport and significantly impact the club through unwanted development, unauthorised access, the removal of our secure boundaries and the creation of conditions that are unacceptable and untenable.

“The removal of our secure boundary and the proposed unfettered access on and across our land for cycle and pedestrians would be unacceptable to us and the FA.

“The proposed connections for utilities on and across our site would have a negative impact on the club, as any ground works are likely to affect use of the land for sports purposes.

“This new plan if approved would signal the end of Knutsford FC at Manchester Road. Without a northern boundary to ‘secure’ our site and consequent unfettered public access allowed, FA step 6 regulations and the club’s development plan of record are compromised – which would mean closure.

“The impact on the club should this new plan be approved is untenable, and would force the club off their historic ground at Manchester Road.”

Cheshire FA said the club’s FA award-winning ground had a playing surface the envy of many clubs higher up the football pyramid.

It said: “The club have excellent facilities which have been carefully enhanced over the years due to the outstanding efforts of their dedicated volunteer workforce.

“Because of these fine attributes and their friendly and willing engagement the County FA regularly use the ground to stage prestigious County FA fixtures.

“If adopted, the proposal would remove the club’s secure boundary, allowing unfettered access to the Knutsford FC site.

“This would have a very serious impact on the future development and progression of the club in the FA pyramid of non-league football.”

Cheshire FA believed the planning application would lead to the ‘eventual demise’ of the club unless serious consideration was given to the concerns it raised.

Tatton Estates said the red line boundary had been amended to include Knutsford Football Club and Knutsford Sports Club.

This had been done to allow potential for cycle/pedestrian links to be provided to Mereheath Lane via the Sports Club site, to allow potential for further open space provision in the south of the site and allow scope for potential connection to utilities.

It stressed that the football and sports club facilities were not proposed for built development.