Plans are moving forward for a new 3G football pitch at The Emmbrook School, for both students and the public, after Wokingham Borough Council’s executive agreed in principle to set aside £375,000 in developer funding towards half its cost.
The new pitch would not only enhance the school’s PE provision but also support the borough council’s leisure strategy to give local residents access to affordable activities boosting their health and wellbeing.
It would also be available to local football clubs. Data from the council’s playing pitch strategy and a meeting with the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Football Association suggests an additional 3G pitch is needed in the Wokingham Borough and that match funding from the Football Foundation is available to bid for.
The borough council’s decision to release half of the cost towards building the new facility depends on receiving the remaining £375,000 needed, from the Football Foundation. Consultants from the foundation have already visited the site, and during the next few months, the council will apply to the foundation for the remaining buildings costs.
If its bid is successful and subject to planning permission, construction of the £750,000 pitch could start in May next year aiming for completion in September.
The students would have sole use during school hours and for after-school activities, with the public and football clubs using it during evenings and at weekends. The pitch would also be adaptable for five-a-side, seven-a-side and nine-a-side so that a variety of age and community groups could enjoy it.
“The long-term benefits this new pitch would bring to the school, local community, and players of all ages across the whole borough are great,” said Cllr Norman Jorgensen, executive member for environment, sports, environmental health, leisure and libraries.
“But it would also lead to other things. And as part of our Football Foundation bid, we’ll be writing a football development plan which will include the two main football clubs in our area: Wokingham and Emmbrook FC and Ashridge Park, alongside Reading FC for the Kicks project.”
There are four other 3G pitches in the Wokingham Borough at Cantley Park, Montague Park FC, Arborfield Leisure Centre and Ryeish Green Leisure Centre.
A 3G pitch has an artificial surface and is a substitute for grass. 3G is the most recent incarnation of what used to be called Astroturf.