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AFC Fylde up and running at Mill Farm Stadium

AFC Fylde are settling into their new 6,000 seater stadium at Mill Farm Sports Village at the start of the new football season.

The aim for the football club was to create a “Premier League set-up”, scaled to suit the dimensions of the new stadium and its ambitions.

The 6,000 capacity project includes a modern 2,000 all-seated main stand with supporters’ bar, restaurant, nursery, executive boxes, offices and a function room.

Architect, design and masterplanning practice the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) has been involved in Mill Farm from day one – working with the club and owner David Haythornthwaite both to shape the plans for the GBP£25m mixed-use development on the site and to create the new home for AFC Fylde.

FWP’s experienced design and project management experts have a strong record of delivering vibrant and modern community-minded sports developments for clubs across the country.

And the ambitious Mill Farm Sports Village project on the Fylde coast in the North West of England, which has been delivered from concept to completion by FWP’s specialist sports multi-disciplinary team, is a striking example of that approach.

FWP unveiled its original vision for the 32-acre site just off the M55 motorway and on the outskirts of the town of Kirkham back in 2013. It included community sports facilities as well as new retail, leisure and commercial developments.

The masterplan also included a foodstore, a distribution centre with associated office space, a 63-bed hotel, petrol station and a public house.

AFC Fylde is an ambitious National League North club with a stated intent to achieve Football League status by 2022. The landmark main grandstand created by FWP has delivered a striking visual theme for the overall development.

The bold structural form rises from the solid base at ground floor level, the sweeping curve of the lightweight roof structure flows along the length of the playing surface, with the slender roof canopy appearing to float over the building below.

The building is of steel frame construction with concrete terrace units to the pitch side seating areas. The steel frame and bracings are expressed above the roofline to emphasise the sweeping curve of the roof.

Semi enclosed terrace areas are created at each end of the building accessed from first floor level and sheltered by the main roof floating above.

The seating and standing areas within the four stands will satisfy Football League entry requirements and will effectively future proof the stadium design should the club be successful in securing promotion in line with its current aspirations.

A mix of cladding, glazed curtain walling and render has created a modern, robust and attractive elevational treatment to all facades of the buildings.

The Mill Farm Sports Village development has also been designed so that buildings, structures and landscape will be sustainable and durable and they are also adaptable and flexible in operation.

Brad Grime at FWP, led the design team that created the Mill Farm vision, and with it the prospect of hundreds of new jobs.

He spelled out the idea behind the project as:

A high-quality mix of employment, sporting and leisure facilities. It is a well-thought out and considered plan, creating fantastic facilities for local people and bringing much-needed employment to the area.

The stadium designed by FWP also includes a 290 capacity cutting-edge sports bar, which will house 35 TVs across five distinct areas so every type of sport can be followed by fans simultaneously, an 80-seat restaurant with roof terrace, a 40 seat café and conference and event facilities across nine rooms.

David Robinson, managing partner at FWP, said the practice has worked closely with the football club throughout the process to create a vibrant and modern development that will be a real asset to the community and its economy.

He said:

In all our sports sector work our aim is to deliver real destination venues for sport, leisure and entertainment for the whole of the local community, with real benefits for clubs and their supporters.

Our expertise is in developing modern facilities that will be used by members of the community seven days a week, throughout the year, something we believe is vitally important for modern day sports venues to provide.

More than 80 sports clubs throughout the country have benefitted from FWP’s advice, with many of them going on to design and build modern new facilities. It also has a strong track record in the commercial and leisure sector.

The team is now working with Scunthorpe United to create a striking 12,000 capacity all-seater stadium for the Football League club.

It is part of the masterplan for a GBP£25m out-of-town football and leisure development created by FWP’s architecture and design team for the club on a site near its present Glanford Park ground.

At Forest Green Rovers, FWP is working with the National League club’s owners and green energy company Ecotricity to deliver a new 5,000 capacity stadium as part of a GBP£100m eco-friendly sports and green technology development.

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