Dartford Football Club
Starting out in 1888, Dartford Football Club in Kent was formed by members of the local workingmen’s club. From here we grew in size and stature, fluctuating between the Kent and Southern Leagues.
After 70 years, financial difficulties forced us from our Watling Street ground in 1992. For the next 14 years we wandered from ground to ground, taking our army of diehard fans with us.
Our new ground
In 2006, our dreams for a new ground finally became a reality when Princes Park, our new purpose-built stadium opened.
We designed it with three clear goals:
- a community regeneration project
- a permanent home to Dartford FC
- the UK’s first sustainable purpose-built small stadium.
The 11,405m² stadium has proper facilities and is within walking distance of the town centre. We opened to a sell out crowd of 4,097 for our first match and have been regularly pulling healthy numbers per home game ever since.
The £6.5m stadium incorporates a broad range of environmental features, including sustainable materials, additional insulation, solar panels and rainwater harvesting.
But what sets the design apart from other contemporary stadia is the bold use of engineered timber and green roofs for the clubhouse and terraces.
A football pitch requires, on average 20,000 litres of water a day to keep it in prime condition."
These allow the building to blend-in with its parkland surroundings, while at the same time remaining highly distinctive. The single-storey terraces and two-storey clubhouse are also partially buried into the ground to preserve the landscape.
The use of public transport to and from the ground is encouraged. Local buses stop at the designated stadium stop so that fans can arrive easily and without worrying about driving or parking.
Other environmental features:
The stadium roof – a sedum roof blanket and covering provides an alternative finish to the terrace and clubhouse, reducing ‘man made’ products and providing a living roof with a natural air filtration system.
- Solar panel – the solar panel system serves the community changing areas and public toilets hot water storage cylinders.
- Reclaimed rainwater – Water run-off from the green roof is controlled through sustainable drainage systems into two constructed lakes and this water is used to water the pitch. The lakes, which cover an area of 1,300 square metres and are up to two metres deep, ensure that in an average year the pitch can be maintained without using water from the mains supply.
- Glulam timber – treated Glulam timber beams support the green roof. The timber is much lighter, compared with steel and concrete – and the lower weight requires shallower foundations. It’s also easier to transport and put up. The insulation property of timber eliminates the risk of cold bridging, where the frame may penetrate external elements of the structure – and its low thermal mass helps to reduce fuel bills.
- Under floor heating – under floor heating on both levels of the clubhouse provide a more energy efficient method of heating the building.
- Low energy lighting – low energy lighting provides an energy efficient method to lighting a building by using less wattage per fitting.
- Increased fabric insulation – gives the club house better thermal retention and efficiency.
- Condensing boilers – provide a more energy efficient system.
- Excavated earth – was reused to landscape the external courtyard areas around the stadium.