SHEFFIELD football bosses have been granted planning permission for a £4 million community football centre.
The ‘exciting and far-reaching’ new development will be built on the playing fields of the old Westfield School.
Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association chief executive James Hope-Gill said: “The creation of this community sporting hub will put sport at the heart of the community in south east Sheffield and use sport as a tool for community regeneration.
“Football has significant potential to be used as a catalyst to encourage physical activity and healthy living for all the community across a wide range of programmes, some of which won’t be directly related to football.”
He added: “Receiving planning permission is a significant step forward and we can now concentrate fully on raising the funding and capital needed to make the project a reality.”
“Funding for the community project is expected to come from grants via The Football Association, The Football Foundation, Sport England and the Rugby Football Union, plus capital raised by Sheffield & Hallamshire FA.”
The site, which used to house the old school sports centre, offers eight poorly-drained pitches with vandalised changing facilities, which are used by just over 20 weekend football and rugby union teams.
The new scheme will create a full-size third generation artificial floodlit pitch with stand, five-a-side pitches and up to eight grass pitches for football and rugby.
A Fitness Unlimited gym built and managed by Sheffield International Venues, jogging and cycle track, physiotherapy clinic, community meeting rooms and classrooms, social facility and changing rooms will also be created.
The County FA said the site will be open seven days a week for 11-a-side, nine-a-side and five-a-side weekly football matches, rugby union teams training and matches, jogging, cycling and archery clubs, as well as coach and education courses.
Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA aims to start building next year once funding is secured, with a view to opening in 2013.