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Deepings football teams to benefit from new £850,000 artificial pitch

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A new £850,000 artificial sports pitch could be provided in Deeping St James after the existing one was closed over safety fears.

It emerged at a meeting of South Kesteven District Council that the authority had earmarked £200,000 in its budget for the facility. The council has started talks with the Football Foundation over a grant application for up to £650,000 and is also exploring other alternative funding streams.

It would mean the new pitch would be used mainly for football, with hockey teams having to train elsewhere.

The council's artificial grass pitch in the Deepings can no longer be used by the community
The council's artificial grass pitch in the Deepings can no longer be used by the community

The meeting heard that Hockey England did not want to contribute to the cost as another pitch was available less than two miles away.

Outlining the plan in the budget, Coun Adam Stokes (Con), cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “Earlier this year, the council had to take the reluctant decision to close the all-weather pitch in The Deepings.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but it was the right thing to do in terms of the health and safety of the numerous community groups who use the facility.

“I want to assure my colleagues from The Deepings, that within the capital proposals there is an allocation towards a replacement pitch as part of our commitment towards a quality leisure provision in the Deepings.”

It was stated during a meeting on Monday last week that two young people had been injured at the existing all-weather pitch, located at the town’s leisure centre on Spalding Road.

After the meeting a council spokesman said: “We're in the early stages of discussions with the Football Foundation regarding a funding application to provide a 3G pitch in Deeping St James. The council has set aside £200,000 in match funding, should an application be successful.

“As part of the council’s wider feasibility work into enhancing leisure facilities across the district, the Linchfield Road site has previously been identified as the preferred site for a new leisure centre development.

"Negotiations are, therefore, progressing with the various landowners in a bid to secure the site. These will need to be finalised, and the results of the feasibility work assessed, before any firm proposals can be put forward, either in respect of the leisure centre or the artificial pitch."

A public consultation will then follow before any decisions are made.

Plans are being drawn up for a new £15 million leisure centre on the corner of Linchfield Road and Spalding Road.

Deepings Leisure Centre (artists impression)
Deepings Leisure Centre (artists impression)

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