BRACKNELL Town FC are on their way towards having one of the most modern grounds in non-league football, writes Dave Wright.

The ambitious Robins have received the green light to install a 3G pitch as the first part of a £1 million plus development programme at their Larges Lane ground.

And their new facilities will also be used by Chelsea FC and Reading FC.

“The aim is to become the best clubs in the immediate area and one of the best clubs in the country at our level of football,” said chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse.

There are several artificial pitches in the country, but Bracknell understand they will be one of the first at Level Five to boast a 3G-pitch stadium.

Work on digging up the current grass surface and demolishing some of the existing stands is expected to get under way in July and could last for around 12 weeks although, given good weather, the completion date could be earlier.

In addition to laying down the new carpet, the initial work will see new fencing around the pitch and floodlights. The estimated cost is £550,000 with a similar sum being spent on new buildings and modernising the dressing rooms and clubroom areas.

The Robins are currently debt free and the large outgoings will come from the sale of land for housing at the road end of their ground.

Until the pitch work is completed, the Hellenic League club will play at the home of Combined Counties League side Sandhurst Town.

Steinborn-Busse said: “The approval of the pitch for us is massive as it means we can start on phase one of a three-phase project at Larges Lane.

“Phase Two will see the buildings significantly modernised with new changing rooms, bathrooms and outdoor functional gym while commercial areas like the bar and restaurant will be improved.

“The work will commence once the housing application has been approved, hopefully in the summer.

“That brings us to phase three which will be the housing and flats which will sit on the Larges Lane end of the site.

“This is currently in the planning process and hopefully there will be a decision by the council on that by the end of July.”

Steinborn-Busse added: “Getting the go ahead for the pitch is the first true sight of our ambitions and now we are looking to kick on.

“We want to become a successful club playing at a level that will make the town proud –- which is really important to us.

“There is an aspiration to move up the football pyramid.

“A town of the size of Bracknell should have a football club playing at a higher level than we currently are.

“We have big ambitions and we are doing that with a sound business plan, which is really important.

“We are now going to be in the pitch hiring business and that, of course, will improve our revenue, and the 3G pitch will enable us to start executing some of our plans.

“We would like to have an Aacademy for 16 to 18-year-olds, working closely with the college just up the road.”

Steinborn-Busse continued: “It is more than just about football at this club now. We aim to benefit the community in a number of ways.

“We are in conversation with Reading FC about providing a multi-sport facility for disabled and disadvantaged people and Chelsea have made an offer to use the 3G on a Monday to set up a player ID (football pathway) scheme for this area.

“Chelsea have been here to look around and are impressed by our ambitions and our plans. They want to be on board.

“Our aim as a club is that if you are a young boy or girl living in the Bracknell area, you can join us, be proud of the club and its facilities.

“We will be able to offer a pathway from Under 6 to senior football and beyond as we will also be providing walking football."

While the first team will use Sandhurst’s Bottom Meadow ground, the club will be requesting away fixtures for their reserves and development team until the work at Larges Lane is completed.

“The ground-share is very flexible – it can be shortened or lengthened – and we must thank Sandhurst. They have been very good to us,” said Steinborn-Busse.