Town in line for new pitch

ST IVES could be in line for a new £1million synthetic football pitch, complete with full floodlighting, if a bid to the Football Foundation succeeds. The pitch is part of £1.5million improvements to the St Ivo outdoor centre, which is predicted to attrac

ST IVES could be in line for a new £1million synthetic football pitch, complete with full floodlighting, if a bid to the Football Foundation succeeds.

The pitch is part of £1.5million improvements to the St Ivo outdoor centre, which is predicted to attract 30,000 extra visitors to the complex every year.

The foundation normally funds only half of the cost of developments that encourage the sport among young people, but it has attracted additional funding and may find the full cost of the all-weather "third generation" turf, suitable for football only, Huntingdonshire District Council's cabinet heard last week.

The rest of the scheme is for extra changing accommodation, new training and lecture facilities, additional car parking and a new cycleway.


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The remaining £500,000 would come from the developers of 300 new homes nearby at St Ives Golf Club, Houghton Grange and Houghton Road, due to be built over the next few years.

Until the development takes place, however, HDC would have to borrow the money, on which it would lose interest of £60,000 a year in the short term.

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If the development goes ahead, the centre would lose one grass pitch. But the new facility could allow either one full-size football game or three simultaneous smaller games.

The federation's decision on funding is expected sooner, but the council believes it has a good chance of success. St Ives Rangers FC will use the pitch, and the club's team for disabled youngsters will be an added incentive for the federation to agree, said the cabinet's newest member, former St Ives mayor, Councillor Doug Dew.

The council also agreed to spend £95,000 to replace the all-weather pitch at Huntingdon Leisure Centre, which is already five years beyond its 10-year design life and can no longer be satisfactorily repaired.

Cambridgeshire County Council will contribute £20,000 of the cost.

There are regular complaints about the present pitch and there are fears it could become dangerous, Cllr Dew said.

The new pitch will replace the existing seven-a-side facility with two five-a-side surfaces. The work will take four of five weeks.

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