Long Stratton has taken the first step towards realising an ambitious £2.5 million ‘multi-sport hub’, after a proposed third-generation artificial pitch acquired the green light.
South Norfolk Council conditionally approved plans install a new 78 x 52 metre synthetic pitch outside the Leisure Centre in Swan Lane — a proposal conceived and partly funded by the village’s high school, football club, parish council and district council.
Should the plans succeed in securing a £240,000 grant from the Football Foundation, which will be decided next Thursday, this artificial turf could open the door for additional projects that South Norfolk Council believes “will address the current and future sporting needs of both Long Stratton and the surrounding villages.”
Cllr Martin Wilby, the district council’s Deputy Leader, said: “Long Stratton will see substantial growth in housing over the coming years and it is important that we invest in the facilities so that they are able to service the increased demand.
“This is a fantastic example of partners working together to provide the opportunities that our residents are asking for.”
The plans include a floodlight system, perimeter fencing, an equipment store and a pedestrian standing area, while the pitch itself would allow for nine-a-side matches, or three simultaneous five-a-side games.
Roger Harris, Long Stratton High School headteacher, said: “The students, staff and cluster schools will benefit hugely from this project which will enable us to deliver an enhanced PE curriculum and facilitate more sporting activities both for the school and wider community.”
Long Stratton FC’s chairwoman Georgina Race stated the new turf would also enable the club “to grow and develop.”
“We at Long Stratton Football Club are very excited with this news,” she explained.
“We will be able to add more age groups so further boosting our role in the community enabling boys and girls to play football for their local club.”
Other projects being discussed for the ‘sport hub’ are a new pavilion at Manor Road Playing Fields, the high school’s swimming pool, netball and tennis facilities, and a redevelopment of the Leisure Centre.
Steve Adcock, the Long Stratton Parish Council chairman, added: “Having worked with South Norfolk Council for some time, Long Stratton Parish Council is thrilled with the progress that is being made.
“The parish council attach a high importance to upgrading and future proofing the sports facilities as Long Stratton grows. There are also other exciting projects in the pipeline.”
To view the plans, visit info.south-norfolk.gov.uk/online-applications — the reference number is 2016/0749.