Oakham football teams could be getting new pitches after 60 years of waiting

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MORE than 60 years of waiting could be over for footballers when Rutland County Council discusses plans for a new ground next week.

A proposal has been put forward to cabinet to spend £10,000 of the council’s reserve money on investigations into a good location for adult football pitches for Oakham.

Possible locations for the facilities include land to the north of the bypass and the new Rutland County College site which will open in Barleythorpe in September next year.

The college site is preferred because it would have better access and would be on land that already belongs to the council.

One of the clubs that would have use of the pitches would be Oakham United, a new club formed when Oakham Imperial and Rutland Rangers merged at the end of last season.

They have already decided to play at the new Catmose College.

Oakham United chairman Barry Clark said: “I have been saying we need new pitches in Oakham since 1953 when we used to play in Barleythorpe Road as Oakham Town.

“I have played on every pitch in this town and have wanted this for a long time.

“New pitches are desperately needed.

“Facilities are facilities and the better they are the better the game is.”

The initial £10,000, if approved on Tuesday, will be spent to assess the suitability of the land.

When a suitable location is found the facilities built will have to comply with national standards such as pitches spanning a minimum of 94 by 64 metres, two dugouts, changing rooms and a referee’s room.

Portfolio holder for community sport and youth at Rutland County Council, Coun Gene Plews (Con) said: “The community has been asking for new football pitches for some time now and the council has worked closely with local football clubs to get to this stage.

“There are lots of people in and around Oakham involved with our local clubs and the issue of a suitable location has been ongoing for some time. I’m pleased that we now have a proposal on the table to consider, with councillors being asked to support exploratory work to determine whether the plans are realistic.

“One of the factors that will be considered is the proximity to the new Rutland County College site, and the opportunities for dual use for youth and adult football.”

Junior football and rugby pitches in Oakham will be provided as part of the Oakham North development.

Developer Hawksmead has agreed to create the pitches next to the Rutland Agricultural Society showground in Burley Park Way to replace the junior pitches that will be lost to housing.

Although the developer has not provided adult sports pitches, it has previously said it would consider contributing money for sporting facilities in the town as part of a section 106 agreement which is yet to be drawn up.