£50,000 grant boost for sports pitch

PUBLISHED: 10:29 18 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:56 11 May 2010

PLANS for an all-weather sports pitch in Royston have moved a step closer to reality following the award of a £50,000 grant. Sport England has given the money towards the cost of the pitch, which will be built at the Meridian School. It is hoped it will b

PLANS for an all-weather sports pitch in Royston have moved a step

closer to reality following the award of a £50,000 grant.

Sport England has given the money towards the cost of the pitch, which will be

built at the Meridian School. It is hoped it will be open by August 2009.

Mike Thrower, from the organising

committee, said: "We're over the moon

to get this cash. A lot of hard work has

gone into this project so far, and we're

getting closer to our target."

More than half of the estimated

£620,000 needed for the project has now

been received from various sources,

including the Meridian School itself, and

the Brian Leslie Racher Trust. The project

has also benefited from a £150,000

donation from the Johnson Matthey

Sports and Social Club.

Mr Thrower says the organisers will

now be applying for a grant from the

Football Foundation's grass roots

scheme, which should cover the rest of

the costs.

They are also awaiting confirmation

that they will receive £50,000 from North

Herts District Council, which pledged

the money earlier this year.

Mr Thrower said: "That could be a

potential spanner in the works.We need

final approval for that £50,000 before we

can go ahead, and if North Herts turn us

down we may need to turn to the local

community for help.

"It's been a fantastic effort thus far from

everyone involved, and we're nearly

there."

The floodlit pitch would be the first of

its kind in Royston, and would be suitable

for several sports, including football,

hockey, and netball.

A spokesman for Meridian said: "The

facility will be available to schools during

term time, and after school hours for

activities such as the Extended Schools

initiative.

"Weekday evenings and weekends will

be reserved for community use.

"Royston has no artificial pitch for

training, coaching or matches, and the

new pitch will help compensate for the

fall in the number of outdoor sporting

facilities that the town has experienced

in recent times."

Conditional planning permission for

the pitch was granted by North Herts

District Council in August.

It is expected that confirmation of the

Football Foundation grant will be

received in February.

Mr Thrower said: "Once we've got all

the funding sorted, we can put the

scheme out for tender.

"We hope construction will begin in the

Easter holidays, to minimise disruption

at the school, and that the pitch will be

open by August.

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