Plans for a second football hub in Sheffield – part of a major £9.6 million pilot scheme – are set for the green light today.
Proposals for two floodlit artificial grass pitches at Thorncliffe Recreation Ground, in High Green, will go before councillors at Sheffield Town Hall this afternoon.
It is the second half of plans to create two football hubs in the north and south of Sheffield.
Plans for two 3G pitches at Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre, off Bochum Parkway, in Norton, were agreed by councillors in April.
The aim of the pilot project with the Football Association is to boost grassroots football, bring more home-grown talent into the game at a national level, and also save the council money in the long-run, although the authority will contribute £1m to the scheme initially.
A new £7m swimming pool and leisure centre, called North Active, is also being built at Thorncliffe Recreation Ground by the council.
The corner of the site where the new pitches will be is already used for leisure with three football pitches and a cricket ground marked out.
The new plans, if approved, would provide two floodlit artificial grass pitches, two natural grass pitches and a single-storey pavilion with eight changing rooms, a club room and coaching space.
Documents before councillors today say: “The two artificial grass pitches would be sited close to the North Active hub, concentrating all new development in the northern half of the existing playing fields and leaving the southern part for grassed pitches.
“This proposal is intended to work alongside the new North Active facility and offer a variety of facilities to this part of Sheffield.
“It is the case that the current level of provision would be replaced, resulting in the loss of all three existing football pitches and the cricket ground.”
The report says the council has tried to find an ‘anchor’ cricket club for the ground but it had not been taken up and so there will only be a single non-turf wicket created.
The new sports hub would be accessed from Pack Horse Lane. A 138-space car park will also to be created.
Councillors are recommended to approve the application, subject to several conditions.
A summary in the report said the loss of open space was considered to be ‘acceptable’ because the quality of sports provision would be ‘significantly improved, providing direct benefits to the local community’.
The new pitches will be run by an operator which is separate to the council and Football Association.