Plymouth City Council has approved funding to help transform an artificial football pitch into a new outdoor recreation hub for the Manadon and Honicknowle communities.
The Manadon all-weather pitch was transferred to the Council from the Ministry of Defence in 2007 and has been operated by YMCA Plymouth since 2012. It is used by football teams and for coaching but is in very poor condition and has no toilet or changing room facilities.
It has also suffered from vandalism, antisocial behaviour and flytipping and the nearby grass football pitches are currently not used at all.
The vision is to create a new football, cricket and outdoor sports facility that will be one of the best in the city and increase the number of people taking part in physical activity at the site from 17,500 a year to 30,000.
It will provide an important community space for the local area and create employment, apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities as well as access to training, development and life skills courses for young people.
Developed by YMCA Plymouth in partnership with the Council, Football Foundation, England and Wales Cricket Board and Plymouth Argyle Supporters Training and Development Trust, the exciting new plans include:
- replacing the artificial pitch with an FA-standard 3G playing pitch, together with new floodlights and security fencing
reinstating the junior grass football pitches
- a new artificial cricket wicket and eight grass wickets
- a new four changing room complex, with a space for training, meetings and social get-togethers (built to Football Foundation and England and Wales Cricket Board guidelines)
- improvements to the car park and entrance to the site.
The Council will contribute £681,474, which will enable YMCA Plymouth to lever in the remaining £1.6 million of external funding needed to deliver the project, including a £900,000 grant request that is currently being assessed by the Football Foundation. The aim is to transfer the facility to YMCA Plymouth as a community asset, which will allow local people to have an active say in its running and remove the costs of ongoing maintenance from Council taxpayers.
Deputy Council Leader and Honicknowle ward councillor Peter Smith said: “This project will create Plymouth’s first cricket and football development hub and significantly improve one of the priority sites in our Playing Pitch Plan. It is particularly good news for the residents of Honicknowle and Manadon, who will finally get the sports facility they deserve as well as a much-needed indoor space for meetings and social activities.
“It will also provide a new ground for the Plymouth Civil Service Cricket Club, which currently has to play outside the city boundary. We are pleased to be working alongside YMCA Plymouth and other partners to provide a new, high quality ground that will make a big difference to clubs, groups and the local community.”
Mark Rowles, Deputy CEO of YMCA Plymouth said: “This is an exciting opportunity for YMCA Plymouth to work with Plymouth City Council and other partners including Plymouth Argyle in the Community, England Cricket and Devon FA to develop an outstanding facility that will enable a wide range of sport, recreational and health activities to be delivered for the local community.”
The decision to approve the project has been approved under delegated authority and may be subject to call-in for scrutiny.