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Council to consider ceasing further work on 3G pitch until strategic review concludes

Council to consider ceasing further work on 3G pitch until strategic review concludes

18 January 2023
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Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive will consider plans to cease further work at this stage on a proposed 3G sports pitch at Maiden Erlegh School when it meets next week (26 January).

 

If agreed, work on the proposed 3G sports pitch at Maiden Erlegh School in Earley will stop while the council develops a Borough-wide Playing Pitch Strategy. Part of this strategy will see the council reassess the needs of Earley and Lower Earley and identify key sites suitable for future 3G sports pitch provisions in the borough.

 

The council’s executive member for environment, sport and leisure, Cllr Ian Shenton said: “The council’s financial position has worsened and costs for this project have escalated since last summer when we first agreed to consult on these proposals. Therefore, we are proposing to cease further work on the proposed 3G pitch whilst we reassess the provision of playing 3G pitches in Earley and Lower Earley. Conducting this review is the right approach and will help us continue to enrich lives by providing access to good leisure facilities for generations to come.”    


About the Playing Pitch Strategy

 

The Playing Pitch Strategy will assess the supply and demand of playing pitches across Wokingham Borough and it will set out recommended strategic priorities for sport pitches in the future to meet need arising from new developments and the existing population. It will ensure demand from local clubs and organisations now and in the future is catered for. Major new communities, such as those at Arborfield Green and the Shinfield area, and school sites which have existing playing pitches will also be included in the review.  The new strategy is set to be completed in summer 2023 to replace the outdated strategy agreed in 2019.

 

Playing pitches in the borough are used for football, rugby, hockey and summer sports including tennis and cricket.

 

Once the strategy has been completed, a full evaluation of 3G pitch provision will take place looking at demand and costs associated with each proposed pitch. The strategy will create a clear plan for the future, providing evidence of where demand for 3G pitches is in the borough.

 

With some pre-application work already done, the full public consultation on the proposal for a 3G pitch at Maiden Erlegh took place in September 2022 and included two drop-in sessions. Nearly 1,000 people submitted their views on the proposed 3G sports pitch on the council’s consultation platform, Engage. Among those who participated, the result findings showed that 72 per cent of respondents supported the pitch whilst 28 per cent of respondents opposed the pitch.

 

Cllr Shenton continued: “We understand, that if proposals are agreed, many local people will be disappointed that we are stopping work at this stage on the proposed 3G pitch at Maiden Erlegh School. However, given our current circumstances and our desire to be financially responsible, it is important that we fully understand the need and demand for 3G pitches in our borough and how they can be financed. We will continue working with the Football Foundation for any alternative site that may emerge following this strategic review.

 

“The council’s consultations guide decision-making rather than constituting as a referendum vote for a scheme to go ahead, because comments and issues raised must also be considered. We would like to acknowledge and thank the school, local football clubs and residents who attended the drop-in sessions and took part in the public consultation.”

 

The report will be considered at the executive meeting on 26 January. 


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