PLANS to open a new multi-million pound sports facility in Harrow this summer are back on track after its official unveiling to the public was delayed, with bosses blaming bad weather.
The first phase of the £4million multi-purpose sports centre at Prince Edward Playing Fields was due to be completed at the beginning of last month, but the man spearheading the exciting development, former Barnet FC manager Paul Fairclough, has admitted there have been teething problems and said poor weather was to blame for the delay. He now expects its doors to open during the first week of July.
"As with any development we've had a few problems but we've solved them," said Fairclough, the chief executive of Barnet Sports Development. "We've had a few bad weeks because of the weather and we're a little bit behind schedule."But we're cracking on and there is more work being done here now than ever before to get it ready in time.
"It's really taking shape and everyone I've shown around has been bowled over by the sheer enormity of the place. There are people coming regularly and we've not even advertised it yet.
"Football clubs from the area have made their interest known as have a lot of schools. I reckon before we open we will have a lot of concrete bookings."
The 44-acre site at Canons Park will house 10 pitches, including allweather astroturf ones, 14 changing rooms, meeting rooms, a swimming pool and a 3,000 capacity football stadium, the latter Fairclough has identified as an ideal finals day venue for the local football leagues.
"It looks like we're going to go ahead with that because we're pleased with the feasibility of it," he added.
An FA licensed 'Centre of Excellence' will also be based at the site and recent trials for it have proved successful.
However, Fairclough wants more sports clubs in and around Harrow to get on board with the centre after receiving a lukewarm response.
"There has not been as big a response from the Harrow area as I would have liked," he commented.
"What happens is that a lot of clubs are protective of their children and want to win trophies as opposed to seeing kids develop.
"It is something we are keeping our eye on and want to strengthen our links with the local leagues, particularly the Harrow Youth League."
He added that Ryman Premier League football clubs Harrow Borough and Wealdstone want to use the site, but said the 'ball is now in their court'."