Gosport council receives 'welcome' grant for new football pitches but has no clear plan on how to spend cash

DEVELOPERS have agreed to grant £277,000 to Gosport Borough Council to enhance or provide new football pitches in the borough - but there is no clear plan on how to spend it.
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The funding came after the approval of a new business centre in Brockhurst Retail Park.

The money comes from a section 106 agreement on the site, where companies must pay into community schemes.

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The funding will be made in two instalments with the first half already secured and the second half paid when the development starts – which could happen in the next two years.

Councillor Peter Chegwyn, leader of the council, said the money is ‘welcome’ and will supplement the £750,000 currently allocated to sports facilities in the borough.

However, he added that ‘Decisions on what it will be spent on will be taken when the money is available to spend’.

The Football Foundation has identified the need for one artificial grass pitch, 13 natural grass pitches, three changing pavilions and a small-sided pitch at a cost of £1,995,250 with grant funding available up to £357,801.

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Andrew Griffin, Stubbington Youth FC spokesperson said: ‘I am sure Peter Chegywn and the new Lib Dem executive have read the Football Foundation’s Football Facilities Plan for Gosport, which is now a mandatory requirement for the council to get its Local Plan for the next 15 years approved.

‘I think Gosport council should be talking to the clubs again to ensure they spend this money in areas where it can do the most good for the game, which are mostly identified in that plan.

‘Football has continued to grow – despite the disruptions of Covid – particularly in the girls’ game, and that was before the Lionesses won the Euros this summer.

‘While my club Stubbington are a Fareham-based team, because we have grown by some 500 per cent in just 10 years, we are very reliant on Gosport’s facilities for both playing matches and training.

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‘I would then urge the council to sit down with Hampshire FA and the local clubs – not just Stubbington – and start providing the facilities football requires in the town, while recognising that Fareham-based clubs will still need to use local school pitches, including Bridgemary’s until more facilities are built in the centre of the town, and in Stubbington.’