COUNCIL chiefs have given the green light for a synthetic football pitch to be built next to Evesham United’s Spiers and Hartwell Jubilee Stadium.
Members of Wychavon District Council’s executive board agreed the plans on Wednesday (July 24) for the £1.5 million development which will give Vale residents of all ages the chance to take to the field and enjoy the beautiful game.
Councillors were asked to back the ambitious plans for a new 3G pitch, changing rooms and social space at the club on Cheltenham Road.
Well over a third of the cost of the scheme will be funded thanks to a huge £576,000 grant from the Football Foundation and councillors will be asked to come up with the remaining costs from the cash pot paid into by developers of new homes across the district.
The bold bid completes a three-year review of playing fields in the district. The survey kicked off in 2016 to look into shortfalls in football pitch provision across the Vale, especially in light of the South Worcestershire Development Plan which examined how the area needed to address population growth in the next decade.
A need for two or three additional 3G synthetic turf pitches in Wychavon was identified in the Playing Pitch Strategy, located near homes to ensure the pitches could be sustained. The Evesham bid is one of two proposed 3G pitches in the district with another being planned for Droitwich.
Speaking at the meeting, Coun Rob Adams, executive board member for community engagement, culture and sport, said: “Nobody out there and nobody I know hasn’t kicked a ball about at sometime or other.
“With a 3G pitch it could be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week in theory. We could get so much more use out of it.”
Fellow board member and Evesham district councillor Coun Martin King seconded the plans.
“This is a growing and thriving operation at Evesham United. It’s not just for men’s football it’s for everyone,” he said
After being approved at executive board, the bid was rubber stamped at a meeting of the whole council.
Council leader Coun Bradley Thomas said the pitches in Evesham and Droitwich would ‘make a difference’ to residents.
It’s hoped the development will allow the football stars of the future to blossom in the Vale and councillors will ask Evesham United to manage the site under the guidance of a part-time site manager.
All of the income from the hiring of the venue will be ploughed back into the running costs while cash will be set aside should the surface need to be replaced in the future.
Before any work can start, a footpath will need to be diverted and building could kick off as early as September.