Wellingborough residents will be given an opportunity to learn more about a proposed all weather football pitch at a public drop in session on Wednesday 20 September.
The session will take place between 4.00 and 6.00pm at the Borough Council of Wellingborough’s Swanspool House offices, with plans and information about the pitch on display and council officers on hand to answer any questions.
Wellingborough Council plans to build the flood-lit pitch, with third generation ‘3G’ artificial grass, at Redwell Leisure Centre in Barnwell Road, subject to the granting of planning permission and a successful bid to the Football Association for match funding which will provide the remaining 50% of installation costs already agreed by the council at its Resources Committee on 21 September 2016.
It will be located in place of one of the existing natural turf pitches and the synthetic surface will allow all year round play. It will also include 4.5 metre high ball stop perimeter fencing and floodlighting subject to strict conditions to minimise light pollution to neighbouring properties.
The council is also considering an alternative location for the cricket square and potential improvements to Redwell Leisure Centre. They will consult on these improvements at a later date.
Leader of the council, Councillor Martin Griffiths, said: “if approved, this will be the first 3G pitch in the borough and will provide a great facility for local sports groups and clubs. Wellingborough is strategically supported by the Football Association as there is a strong history of football development here but a shortage of football facilities, so we’re hoping we will be awarded the funding.
“An innovative line marking system means that we can host not only adult football in its various guises, but youth and mini soccer arrangements too.
“Alongside this exciting initiative we are also looking at how the council might invest in the wider regeneration of the leisure centre – both inside and out – to further benefit the local community, offering enhanced leisure and sporting facilities, and additional car parking to cater for new users.
"An open space, sports and recreation audit conducted in 2015 identified a need for this facility and a subsequent consultation exercise with local clubs in June 2017 evidenced further demand, with 86 teams expressing an interest in using such a facility. As a council, we are committed to improving our sports facilities in the years ahead as the borough grows and prospers.”
A number of different sites for the pitch were considered, but the Football Association recommended Redwell as the most suitable location, as it is an existing council owned sports facility with on-site parking, changing facilities and staffing. The location was agreed at the council’s Services Committee in March 2016.
It is expected that the application will be discussed at the council’s planning committee on Wednesday 4 October and if permission is granted, a funding bid will be submitted to the Football Foundation later that month, with building works predicted to start in Spring 2018.
The planning application can be viewed on the Council’s planning portal website: http://pawebsrv.wellingborough.gov.uk/online-applications/ by entering the reference number WP/17/00378.