Construction of new artificial grass pitch for North Devon will kick off in the new year

Posted on: 3 December 2018

Christmas has come early for local footballers, as North Devon Council agrees to allocate the final funding required to build a new full-size 3G Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP) at Tarka Tennis Centre.

At a meeting of the council’s Executive today (Monday 3 December), it was announced that the project had been awarded £445k by the Premier League and FA Facilities Fund. Councillors then agreed to use £48k of S106 funding* to add to the £286k already allocated by the council back in May.

The project will cost almost £800k and is now fully funded. Work will commence once planning conditions have been signed-off. The target is to open the new facility before the start of the next football season.

North Devon Council’s Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones says: “We’ve been working really hard to deliver this project so it will be very satisfying to see construction start now that all the funding is in place. We’re delighted that our bid for funding from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund has been successful. This project has been identified by our clubs as a key priority within the Playing Pitch Strategy and I can’t wait to see young people and adults from North Devon enjoying their football on the new facility from next season.”

North Devon Council and Torridge District Council adopted a joint Playing Pitch Strategy in November 2017. The document sets out how both councils will meet the current and future demand for sports pitches in the two districts. 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 at Tarka Tennis Centre 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. It 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 walking football, a girls development centre, mental health sessions, local leagues, disability team training and matches and youth drop-in sessions.

*Section 106 (S106) is money paid to the council by developers as part of the planning conditions of planning applications. The money can only be used for certain things, but is used primarily for public open space projects.

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Posted in: Planning