Leigh Park football centre will nurture future stars

James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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A STATE-of-the-art £500,000 football pitch is set to be built in the heart of Leigh Park.

For years the Havant area has been crying out for an all-weather pitch where the thousands of local children can safely play football.

The dream has come a step closer to reality after Havant Borough Council awarded £200,000 to the project.

The huge cash injection is the final piece in the jigsaw as there was already £300,000 in the kitty for a new artificial pitch.

Havant Borough Council considered building the pitch at either Park Community School or Havant Academy.

Park Community School was chosen as the construction costs worked out to be slightly cheaper as workmen are already on site as the school undergoes a £10m rebuild.

Leaders have been pushing for a football facility in the south of the borough as Waterlooville is already well-served with pitches at South Downs College and Cowplain Community School.

Councillor Yvonne Weeks, who oversees communities and economic development in Havant borough, said: ‘It’s brilliant news for Leigh Park.

‘There was money from developers’ contributions that the borough has saved for a long time.

‘The Hampshire Football Association would support an artificial pitch in Leigh Park because there’s no facilities in Leigh Park and there’s quite a lot of football teams.

‘Park Community School does a lot of work in the community and they are open from 8am to 10pm.

‘Everyone is a winner.

‘It will be able to be used by all the schools in the area.

‘We are almost sure that with the funding the school has got, and the borough has given over, that they are not going to need any more funding.’

The remaining £300,000 needed for the facility has been brought together by different parties, including Hampshire County Council, Park Community School and Sport England.

The pitch is set to be managed by Park Community School, but its use would be overseen by the council.

Susan Parish, business and community manager, said: ‘The school is very excited by the prospect of such a fantastic new facility which will benefit the whole community.’

Work is set to start this summer.