State of the art sports pitches will be open by September in Estover Road, March
- Credit: Archant
Work has started at Estover playing fields, March, on a new sports hub with state of the art pitches and a pavilion for clubs and private hire.
The pitches for five-a-side football, netball, basketball and tennis, will be ready by September while the pavilion, with changing rooms, bar and meeting room, should be ready by next spring.
The news has been welcomed by councillors who say it will put March on the map as a serious venue for good sporting facilities for the community.
Councillor Steve Count, leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This now belongs to the people of March.
“This is a well overdue facility, it’s been years coming but we can now all make best use of this.”
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“I know of people whose parents lobbied for this 30 years ago.”
The mayor, Councillor Jan French said:”It’s fantastic for March. We hope it can be used as meeting rooms, conferences, for businesses and local community events.
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“Parking will be improved, there will be plenty of room and a footpath is being created with special area for dog walkers.
“When I was first a councillor in August 1990 it was the first thing I was asked; now 28 years later it has happened.”
The land is being rented to the Estover Playing Field Trust at the nominal sum of £1 for 99 years
Councillor Kit Owen has chaired the working group to prepare the plans for the site.
He said: “It has been a lot of work behind the scenes by many people, all worth it.
“Finance has been a problem. There was £650,000 for the football field in a grant from Sport England but it had restrictions and conditions that were way, way too difficult to meet, so we had to let that grant go.”
The grant had been secured by MP Steve Barclay with a funding mix from the Premier League, the Government and the FA, but it became so complicated that it was decided not to accept it.
Councillor Martin Field said: “It’s great to see new facilities at a time when so many local services are being cut. It is great news for March.”
Local builders Simon Rutterford, Lee Batchelor and March business, Artificial Grass Cambridge, have the contract for the work providing jobs for around 15 people from the area during the construction phase.
A further £300,000 is needed to complete interior work to the pavilion, but Cllr Count assured people the venue would still open and be ready to use without that additional funding.
A survey seven years ago showed that for a town the size of March it has less than half of the pitches expected for the population size.