PUPILS at Bridgemary School are set to benefit from a £550,000 all-weather sports pitch after winning funding from Sport England.
And the floodlit pitch, in Wych Lane, Bridgemary, Gosport, will be open to footballs clubs and residents.
It comes after two years of planning by Scott Sivier, the partnership development manager at the community school, and his team.
He said he was ‘ecstatic’ now that £150,000 has been won from Sport England to help fund the plan.
The school and the Football Foundation are set to stump up the rest of the cash, with details being finalised.
Mr Sivier said: ‘The nearest 3G all-weather pitch is, full-sized, probably Havant.
‘Young people, families and the wider community of Gosport will not travel because of the expense.
‘This is very much about grass-roots football development and also providing other physical activities.’
It comes as the school said 28 out of 57 of their fixtures in the 2011-2012 football season were cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.
By January this year, 19 of 29 matches had been cancelled.
The school’s plans were approved on September 17, more than a month after Gosport Borough Council had planned to make a decision.
On August 29, Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage wrote to the council asking it to deal with the plans.
Labour’s Cllr Dennis Wright is one of two members for Bridgemary North at the council.
He said: ‘It has taken an enormous amount of time – they’ve been pushing it.
‘I’ve been making planning enquiries on their behalf.
‘But it will be a real asset to the area. We’ve got nothing like it in the immediate area.
‘There is a demand for those sort of facilities.’
Tory Cllr Wayne Ronayne is chair of the regulatory board.
He said the time taken reflected ‘due process’ to get the application done correctly.
The pitch will be open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 9.30pm and on Saturday, from 9am to 9.30pm. And it will be open from 11am to 9.30pm on Sundays and bank holidays.
Three residents objected to the plans over car parking – one was worried about noise.
Planners approved the decision and it did not go to councillors to vote on.