Plans to transform an artificial football pitch into a new outdoor recreation hub for the Manadon and Honicknowle communities have taken a major step forward, with the approval of a new project partner and revised business case.
We’re teaming up with the Argyle Community Trust to provide 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.
The trust was already involved in developing the scheme and agreed to step in as main delivery partner after the YMCA confirmed it was no longer in a position to lead the project. It will take on the lease under a community asset transfer arrangement and take on responsibility for ongoing maintenance and operations at the new facility, which will include:
- an FA-standard 3G playing pitch, together with new floodlights and security fencing
- new 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
Council Leader and local ward councillor Ian Bowyer said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside the Argyle Community Trust and other partners to create what will be Plymouth’s first cricket and football development hub. This will significantly improve one of the priority sites in our Playing Pitch Plan and make a big difference to clubs, groups and the local community.
“The scheme will provide the high-quality facility residents deserve, as well as a much-needed indoor space for meetings and social activities. It will also mean there’s a new ground for the Plymouth Civil Service Cricket Club, which currently has to play outside the city boundary.
“By transferring the facility to the trust as a community asset we can ensure local people have a say in its running but also remove the costs of ongoing maintenance from Council taxpayers.”
Argyle Chief Executive Martyn Starnes said: “We have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to participate in a major development and it will allow us to deliver a new level of services to the people of Plymouth, and the surrounding areas.
“The leadership of Argyle Community Trust with Mark Lovell and his colleagues has been the catalyst. The growth of our Trust began before I came to the club and it has continued exponentially in recent years.
“It is a wonderfully diverse service we provide through the Trust and we consider it to be the jewel in the crown of Plymouth Argyle. The Trust enables us to reach across Devon and Cornwall, providing services and programmes to a huge range of people.”
David Tall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Argyle Community Trust, added: “This is a hugely significant step forward for Argyle Community Trust and a proud day for everyone involved.
“There has been a tremendous amount of hard work behind the scenes to reach this stage and I pay tribute to Trust Manager Mark Lovell, and his team, for helping make this project a reality for the people of Plymouth.”
The Manadon and Honicknowle Sports Centre project will create employment, apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities as well as access to training, development and life skills courses for young people.
The total cost of the scheme is £2,086,066 – made up of £941,400 from the Football Foundation, £350,000 from Sport England and £150,000 from England and Wales Cricket Board, supported by Council funding of £644,666 (mainly comprising developer contributions).