Building football for the future - Vision 2020 is the new centre of excellence for elite women's and girls’ football in the North West that aims to improve opportunities for everyone involved in the game.

Vision2020 is an exciting new £70m development that is the next step on an exciting journey to develop the women’s game. It will support the realisation of the FA’s Game Plan for Growth; a strategy to grow participation in women’s and girls’ football, creating a sustainable and successful high performance system to ensure England teams compete with distinction on the world stage at every age group.
It is the result of collaboration between Cheshire FA in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council, and the Football Association. Development partners are ION Developments and principal partners Space & Place.

Development partners

ION Developments 

ION Developments, one of the leading North West based regeneration developers, leads the team. Over the last 30 years ION has delivered a range of substantial facilities including leisure clubs, offices, schools, retail, theatres and bus stations.

“We are greatly looking forward to bringing what will become a world-class football centre with luxury hotel to Cheshire. The finished development will not only enhance Cheshire’s brilliant reputation as a footballing destination and bring hotel rooms to a thriving tourism destination, but will also give women and girls football the much needed state-of-the-art facilities to help reach its full potential,” says Steve Parry, managing director of ION Developments.

Space and Place

Over 40 years, sports architectural design practice
Space & Place has delivered more than 200 community sports and leisure facilities, including flagship venues for major sporting events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth games.

“Rarely does a project such as this excite us so much. It’s a real opportunity to design a facility that truly makes a difference from grassroots participants to elite level athletes in one place,” says Keith Ashton, it's chief executive. 

Part of a bigger picture

Currently the FA, FIFA, and UEFA are putting massive focus on increasing participation in the women’s game.

The FA’s Game plan for Growth sets ambitious targets to double both the number of female football players and the fan base by 2020. Cheshire FA’s Centre of Excellence will play an important role in delivering these ambitions in the North West.

Cheshire FA’s vision for the Centre

To provide a world class football facility unique in women’s football in the UK, in terms of the range of amenities it contains within a single site, and in the commercial business model that supports it.

Facilities will include:

  • a new HQ building for Cheshire FA including an executive suite, coaching classrooms overlooking the 3G pitches, meeting rooms and a media centre, for all Cheshire FA TV operations as well as football press conferences from visiting teams.
  • potential for the site to become home for a WSL1 Club.
  • an adjacent luxury conference centre and 4 star spa hotel with a selection of private pavilions, a destination spa, swimming pool, gym, refined dining restaurant, conference suite with banqueting facility, meeting rooms, bar and lounge.
  • extra amenities include a potential small retail outlet and nursery.
  • a sports injury/wellness centre.
  • world Class education facilities
  • youth zone.

Elite level pitch facilities will comprise:

  • a Desso pitch with undersoil heating with floodlighting and elite changing facilities for men and women.
  • a hybrid grass pitch an elite floodlit 3G pitch with a 1000-seat stadium, a ticketing facility and accommodation for food and beverage sales.
  • a floodlit FIFA 2 star 3G pitch.
  • A further three grassroots football pitches and three artificial pitches are provided together with multiple changing facilities.

Design inspiration

The design of this leisure destination is a unique, ecologically sensitive and iconic resort that complements and enhances the surrounding landscape.

The masterplan design works with the existing topography to enhance the facility, to exploit the views from the site itself but also provide improved views for the existing adjacent developments.

Incorporating the landscape
The design ensures that the architectural elements remain in keeping with its surrounding natural environment. The design approach joins up the existing countryside facility with the new development to both enhance and complement the wider open space provision that exists around Northwich.

“The overall design creates an intelligent contemporary response to the client’s need to provide a world-class football facility that blends into the contours of the surrounding countryside, creating pockets of spaces; a landscape that naturally encourages activity,” says Ashton.

The architectural style and materials used complements the nature of the site while also bringing the development into the 21st century through more contemporary use of materials.

Local and international use

The scheme must be both for local community use and for an international clientele of visiting clubs and players for accommodation purposes, training and indeed rehabilitation.

“Quality, international sports standards and environmental accreditation are all important components of the ground-breaking and in many ways unique scheme,” says Ashton.

“Vision 2020 is the first of its kind in the UK – an exemplar for women’s and girls’ academy and elite football facilities across the UK and internationally.”