3G pitch boost for soccer

It is hoped to improve the condition of football pitches
It is hoped to improve the condition of football pitches
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Blackpool is set to kick off ambitious plans to build state-of-the-art football pitches across the town.

Following a full review of all grass sports pitches in the resort, a bid is to be made by Blackpool Council for funding to build three full-size 3G synthetic all weather pitches.

It is expected to be in the region of around £1m.

If the applications for grants are successful, the new facilities would be built on Common Edge Road in Marton, at Unity College in the north of the town, and at Stanley Park.

Bids will be made to the Lancashire Football Association and the Football Foundation. It follows a detailed survey by the council of all grass sports pitches in the town, including for rugby, hockey and cricket.

The report found there are 100 grass football pitches of which only one – at Squires Gate FC – is rated as good.

Of the others, 60 per cent are rated as standard, and 39 per cent are rated poor quality.

There is currently only one 3G pitch, at Blackpool and The Fylde College in Bispham but that is said to already be operating at capacity.

Coun Maria Kirkland, cabinet member for leisure services at Blackpool Council, said: “We are keen to improve community sports facilities across Blackpool and the playing experience of those taking part.

“It would be fantastic to attract external funding to improve sports facilities, which would include increasing provision of 3G pitches in Blackpool to meet training and competitive demand.

“We will hopefully secure the funding needed to maintain and improve our existing facilities to support every day active lifestyles while continuing to develop facilities and activities for the local sporting community.”

The new pitches use the latest synthetic turf technology to create a realistic artificial playing surface.

A council report says the Lancashire Football Association and Football Foundation “are keen to work with Blackpool to create a longer term vision for enhancing the current facilities based on the principle of building 3G all weather pitches”.

It adds: “They have expressed a willingness to contribute funding towards a town wide model for Blackpool, on the basis that sites are identified in the north, central and south that can act as hub sites for football.”

There is also interest from the Cruyff Foundation to build a 3G Cruyff Court in Blackpool.

A new pitch at Unity could also host rugby matches, while the Common Edge Road facility is proposed as a football hub with Collins Park.

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/business