Major sports pitch review published
A wide-ranging review of current sports pitch provision in Wigan Borough has been welcomed as a crucial document to support grassroots clubs seeking future investment.
Wigan Council has published its Playing Pitch Strategy which has documented and assessed all playing pitch provision in the borough for sports including football, rugby league, rugby union, cricket and hockey as well as 3G pitches.
The strategy supports the council’s objectives as part of The Deal to increase participation in sport and help people of all ages to lead healthy and active lives.
The quality, availability and assessment of the standard of all pitches in the borough is detailed including actions that need to be taken in the future to match demand.
Councillor Carl Sweeney, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for resources and reform, said: “To support Wigan Council’s Deal for the Future and increase opportunities for sports participation, we want to enable a high quality and sustainable network of sports pitches and outdoor leisure facilities.
“We have worked successfully with Sport England and a range of sport national governing bodies to assess playing pitch provision and develop a plan for improvement.
“It is a very comprehensive piece of work which will be vital for all sporting clubs to use if they bid to their respective governing body for investment in their playing pitch provision.
“As a borough we now have a much better understanding of our facilities from pitch type, usage and condition to understanding the supply and demand of playing pitches.”
Wigan’s strategy, which took almost a year to compile and runs to 167 pages along with 127 page action plan, has been praised by Sport England.
Fiona Pudge, planning manager at Sport England, said: “Sport England believe it’s essential that local communities have access to a good supply of high-quality playing pitches and playing fields that meet their sports and activity needs.
“All local authorities should ensure this by having an up-to-date playing pitch strategy. It should be based on robust evidence of demand and supply and a good understanding of the needs and aspirations of local grassroots sporting clubs and leagues, obtained through thorough consultation with them.
“This is very much what Wigan have done. The council, working with local partners, Sport England and national governing bodies, have produced a playing pitch strategy and set up a mechanism to keep it up to date so that it can be used by everyone who has an interest in the provision of pitch sports in the borough.”
The publishing of the strategy follows an announcement by the council last year that it was bidding to be part of the national Parklife programme.
If successful this would bring a £10m boost to grassroots sport through the creation of three state-of-the-art football hubs.
The Parklife programme is spearheaded by the Football Association, the Premier League and Sport England.
The programme will potentially see three hubs created in the borough.
The preferred sites are Howe Bridge in Atherton, Cardinal Newman playing fields in Hindley and Laithwaite Park in Wigan.
A decision on whether Wigan has made it through the final stage of the Parklife approval process is expected in the October 2018.
Posted on Tuesday 13th March 2018