A new all-weather football facility is on the cards for Barnstaple

Posted on: 8 May 2018

Part of the funding has been agreed for a 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) at the Tarka Tennis Centre, as part of the new leisure centre project.

At a meeting of North Devon Council’s Executive today (Tuesday 8 May), members agreed to release over £163,000 of Section 106 funding towards the project, along with £122,000 from the sale of land at Rock Park in Barnstaple. The council is also waiting for the result of a funding application to the Football Foundation for £550,000 towards the project, expected to be announced in July.

The pitch is one of the key priority projects identified within the Northern Devon Playing Pitch Strategy, which sets out how the council will meet the current and future demand for sports pitches in the district. The strategy was written in partnership with Sport England and the national governing bodies for Football, Rugby Union, Cricket, Hockey and Bowls and in consultation with local sports clubs. The new facility will be the only FA Licensed pitch in North Devon and Torridge capable of hosting adult matches and will allow fixtures to continue throughout the year, even when the grass pitches are waterlogged.

The new artificial grass pitch will be used by a wide range of youth and adult groups for training and match play, and by local schools for PE lessons. There are also plans for Devon FA to deliver walking football, a girls development centre, mental health sessions and 6-a-side leagues and the council plans to develop an under 17s and under 18s league night and youth drop-in sessions. It is also hoped that the venue will provide a home pitch for North Devon based disabled teams, who currently travel to Exeter to play.

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “Agreeing to release these funds is an important step forward for this project and will send a clear message to the Football Foundation that we are committed to deliver the artificial grass pitch. My hopes are high for this funding bid – if we are successful, over half a million pounds of outside funding will be invested in this new facility, which will be a fantastic result for sport in North Devon and a big step forward in delivering the sporting needs of our local community.”

Local ward member for Marwood, Councillor Joe Tucker, says: “As ward member I’m really pleased that Pilton West Parish Council supported our Executive proposal for funding from Westaway Plain to be used towards the project. It will be a real asset for the residents of Pilton, Barnstaple and North Devon as a whole.”

Some of the funds released today will be used to produce documentation required to satisfy the planning requirements and for the employment of an approved Project Manager to deliver the construction phase of the project, both of which are conditions of the Football Foundation funding.

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Posted in: Leisure