Ambitious move over all-weather pitches

PUBLISHED: 14:21 04 October 2007 | UPDATED: 15:16 12 May 2010

AN ambitious project could see the provision of TWO all-weather sports pitches in Royston. One scheme would see an all-weather pitch for football developed on a site at The Meridian School. The other scheme involves creating an all-weather pitch for hocke

AN ambitious project could see the provision of TWO all-weather sports pitches in Royston.

One scheme would see an all-weather pitch for football developed on a site at The Meridian School.

The other scheme involves creating an all-weather pitch for hockey at Therfield Heath.

The proposals have been revealed to members of North Herts District Council's Royston area committee.

Plans for both proposals are to be pursued by an action group which has £150,000 to pay towards the costs of the project.

The money has come from Johnson Matthey after it closed its sports and social club and insisted the cash has to be used for a community project.

Mike Thrower, acting chairman of the action group, told members that JM's has "bequeathed" the money in the hope of it being used for a community project.

He said there had been talks with the Herts FA and the development of an all-weather pitch at The Meridian School could receive support from the Football Foundation to the sum of £500,000.

There was support, too, he said from the conservators of Therfield Heath to see the creation of an all-weather pitch near to the Heath Sports Centre.

He said the action group had a "dilemma" over whether to make a choice between "one site or the other or one sport or the other".

In the end Mr Thrower said it was decided to make progress on both projects and prepare a case for Sport England in the hope of gaining Lottery funding.

He said the project had "identified a community need".

Mr Thrower pointed out, however, that neither the Herts FA or the hockey authorities would give support to a multi-games all-weather pitch. "If we want the funding then we will have to toe the line," he said.

The development of an all-weather football pitch would cost about £450,000 and a hockey pitch £350,000.

Cllr F John Smith said that The Meridian School had always wanted an all-weather pitch. "It makes sense to do something there."

And Cllr Tony Hunter added: "I think we can support the concept which has already seen a lot of time and effort going into the project.

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