Harrogate Harriers have unveiled plans to develop a purpose-built running and athletic track within the grounds of Ashville College. Once constructed, this will be first time in the organisation’s history that it will have a permanent home for both its senior and junior members.
The club, which can trace its roots back to the 1960s, now has 550 members - 300 of which are aged between ten and 17 - and has now begun a major fundraising drive to meet the anticipated cost of the scheme. Detailed plans for the scheme are to be submitted to Harrogate Borough Council later this month with the hope of work staring in Spring 2017. It is anticipated the track, which will be situated on a four-acre plot adjacent to the college’s all-weather pitch, will be completed later that same year.
Harrogate Harriers will have exclusive use of the track on three evenings a week, whilst the school will use it during the day in term time, and on some weekends. Use of the facility will also be offered to community organisations and to local schools without a track of their own, to host their own sports days.
Club chairman Tony Essex said: “We are very excited to be announcing these plans, the most ambitious in the club’s history. Harrogate Harriers have been working closely with Ashville College in developing the plans, and we believe this is a partnership that will bring long-lasting benefits for many people. This new facility will see our seniors - who currently meet at Harlow Hill Squash Club - and our junior section, who have no base and train in various locations across Harrogate and Knaresborough - be together for the first time. One of our key aims is for the track to available to a wide range outside organisations, ensuring that the community is the winner in this scheme.” He added:
“We are now launching a major fund-raising initiative and have formed a committee who will spearhead the monetary drive and identify major sources for us to approach.”
Ashville College Headmaster Mark Lauder said: “We are delighted to be partnering Harrogate Harriers in this very exciting project. Over the last few years we have been developing our sports facilities, including an all-weather sports surface and upgraded sports centre, and this will enhance our provisions even further. Once completed, our highly-skilled grounds team will take over the management and maintenance of the trach, thereby ensuring Harrogate Harriers are not left with any unforeseen future costs."
“This will be a sports facility that Harrogate Harriers and Ashville College will be proud of and one that the whole town can, and will, benefit from.”