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Sports project could breathe new life into Wedmore
A MASSIVE project which could breathe new life into sports facilities for hundreds of children and adults has received the go-ahead.
The Wedmore Playing Fields management committee has won planning permission for two junior football pitches, four mini football pitches, a three-bay all-weather cricket net, five floodlit tennis courts and a children's play area.
Around 1,000 people belong to clubs which use the current facilities, which many in the village say are past their best and stretched beyond capacity.
Pete Brown, senior architectural technician with Benjamin and Beauchamp Architects, the Wedmore firm which is supporting the project, said: “It will make a massive difference.
“If we can deliver the whole scheme, including the tennis courts, that releases the existing courts for multi sports use.”
Mr Brown used to play football for Wedmore's senior side and is a former member of the village cricket club.
He now runs the girls section of the junior football club and coaches the under-11s.
He said: “If you go up to the fields on a Saturday morning, you'll find girls and boys, from under sixes to under 16s, plus two senior sides, and once a fortnight two veterans sides, all using three pitches.”
Jackie Hipwell, head teacher of Wedmore First School Academy, said the project would be “an excellent addition to village facilities, and much enjoyed by all younger inhabitants of the village.”
So far, £50,000 has been secured from Sports England, and further money has come from Sedgemoor District Council's leisure budget.
An application for funding to the Football Foundation will be submitted in the next couple of weeks, with a view to work starting on the football pitches in April.
At around the same time, work will take place to create a new play area, with work on a car park extension planned for later this year.
The cricket club is in early talks with the ECB about funding for the three-bay cricket net and the tennis club is similarly in preliminary discussions over funding with the LTA.
Mr Brown added: “Numerous fund raising opportunities are currently being explored and a series of fundraising events have been diaried over the coming months.
“The whole project could be completed by the end of 2014 if our fundraising objectives are met.”