Public exhibition for all-weather pitch in Wellingborough

The proposed new pitch
The proposed new pitch

People will be able to learn more about a proposed all-weather football pitch at a public drop-in session.

The session will take place between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday, September 20, at Wellingborough Council’s Swanspool House offices, with plans and information about the pitch on display and council officers on hand to answer any questions.

The authority 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 per cent of installation costs already agreed by the council at its resources committee on September 21 last year.

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.

Council leader 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 October 4 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 via the council’s website by searching for reference number WP/17/00378 on the planning pages.