OFFICIALS proposing to spend millions of pounds on new football facilities at Knights Grange have asked people living next door to help develop their plans.

Winsford Residents’ Steering Group will give an opinion to Cheshire FA, and make sure it keeps any promises, on a project those behind it claim can create jobs and attract visitors to the town.

Its 18 members met for the first time in April.

“We are 100 per cent behind the idea,” said Tim Ashcroft, the group’s chairman.

“However we will also challenge many aspects so that it works for the benefit of all and not just those interested in football.”

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Mr Ashcroft, a consultant on economic development who is managing director of his own business, owns a house near to the outdoor sports complex.

It is something he has in common with colleagues on the steering group.

Close to 80 people applied to join, and those invited to are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and interests.

He added: “We all have a CW7 postcode, which was the only criteria Cheshire FA insisted on.

“There is a real cross section of expertise and knowledge represented, including some with links to sports clubs based at Knights Grange.

“The overall balance is good; others are from education, farming and construction.”

Stuart Manifould, directing the project on behalf of Cheshire FA, has presented a draft masterplan to the group.

He hopes to do the same publicly by the end of June.

In addition to a 3,000 capacity stadium Vision 20/20, as it has been branded, includes on its wish-list a luxury hotel and spa, three 3G pitches – one of them covered – high-spec outdoor pitches and a sports medicine facility.

It had initially been earmarked for Northwich, but Cheshire FA said it could not find enough space there to fit everything in.

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“We’re passionate about making this development a success not only for us but for Winsford and those that live there,” said Mr Manifould.

“The residents’ group has a role to play in helping us do that.

“They may think of potential problems, or suggest alternatives, that we hadn’t considered.

“Not only that, we think it’s important to be totally transparent.”

The residents’ group is scheduled to meet staff at Winsford Academy this month to learn about how they fit into the scheme.

Mr Ashcroft told the Guardian he is keen to ask questions on behalf of those living in the town.

With that in mind, suggestions can be sent by email to