New plans for all-weather sports pitch at Dawlish
The home of sport in Dawlish could get a top quality new all-weather pitch if Teignbridge District Council’s Executive agrees the next step of a £300,000 refurbishment programme.
The 20-year-old artificial pitch at Dawlish Leisure Centre, Sandy Lane, will be replaced with a modern AstroTurf Pitch if the Executive approves a recommendation to appoint an approved contractor to carry out the work.
The Executive will consider the recommendation at its meeting on Tuesday at Teignbridge’s Forde House headquarters, Newton Abbot.
Approval to enter into the contract will allow the project to go ahead meaning a huge variety of sports clubs, school children and residents will benefit for many years to come.
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The project is the result of work between Teignbridge District Council, Devon County Council, Sport England and Dawlish Community College.
Teignbridge District Council secured £145,000 funding through Sport England’s ‘Places People Play’ programme which is backed by the National Lottery and part of the London Olympics Games 2012 legacy to provide lasting improvements to sports facilities around the country.
The Council has put in £105,000 and is managing the project. The funds were secured through deals struck by the Council under planning approval conditions for housing developments in Dawlish. Devon County Council contributed £46,000 and Dawlish Community College the remaining £4,000.
It has been a long-held vision to replace the pitch which is the district's only home for hockey, and provides facilities for many other popular clubs. Its users include Teign Hockey Club, Dawlish Ladies Hockey Club, Dawlish United Football Club (U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16 teams), Exeter City FC Ability Squad, Langdon FC, Starcross Generals FC, Torquay Utd Elite Development Training, Devon Games to Inspire and Dawlish Community College.
It is available for use on a casual basis by members of the public and is used by Dawlish Lawn Tennis Club in the summer months.
The existing facility is coming to the end of its 20-year life. Although it has served the community well for many years, its age now means it has problems draining and the floodlights are costly to maintain. The refurbishment project includes full resurfacing, new floodlights, and a better layout and improved security fencing.
Cllr George Gribble, Teignbridge Executive Spokesperson for Communities, Recreation and Leisure said: "The refurbishment of the all-weather pitch is something we have all wanted for a long time and if this recommendation is approved it will mean we can appoint a contractor and get work underway.
“The current pitch desperately needs renovation and will soon no longer be fit for purpose. We have already seen, in this Olympic year, how sport can bring people of all ages together and we want to continue that for a long time to come. A new top-quality pitch will safeguard the future of many local clubs who value the facility highly and it will create a long-lasting legacy for sport.
“This is also a great example of how positive planning can have a direct benefit on local communities. Teignbridge is very proud of its sport and leisure offerings and the Section 106 agreements mean we are able to ‘give something back’ and make sure our residents get involved in sport for generations to come.”
Cllr Graham Price, Teignbridge District Council’s ward member for Dawlish Central and North East, added: "This is a long- awaited and welcome recommendation which will, if approved, enhance the sports experience for residents and visitors to Dawlish.”
Cllr Ted Hockin, Teignbridge District Council’s ward member for Dawlish Central and North East, said: “The old pitch has served us well but is now well past its sell by date. I am absolutely delighted that Teignbridge District Council has been able to secure funding for a replacement in this difficult financial environment.
“Sporting facilities are very important for the health of the community and the investment in this pitch, along with the hoped-for approval of this recommendation, will ensure that all forms of sport will benefit.”
If approved the refurbishment will safeguard the future of several clubs and allow them to carry on playing, growing and competing - whatever the weather may bring.
Jo Day, the Club Development Officer for Teign Hockey Club, said: "Teign Hockey Club is very excited by the thought that, if this recommendation is approved, the current pitch could be replaced with a quality fit-for purpose all-weather facility.
“Concerns about the state of the pitch and bad weather impacting on league games and training sessions have been expressed over the past few years and we have been desperate for these issues to be addressed for fear we could lose a local playing facility leading to the demise of hockey.
“A replacement means we can continue to grow as a Club offering good quality, enjoyable and safe playing and training opportunities to the local community, particularly young people, now and into the future.”