Money secured for new Ilfracombe pitch


- Credit: Archant

More than £300,000 now in hand for new state-of-the-art artificial pitch at Ilfracombe Academy.

WORK to create a long-awaited sports pitch in Ilfracombe could now be just weeks away after it was announced more than £300,000 in funding has been secured.

Efforts to create a state-of-the-art artificial pitch at Ilfracombe Academy have been ongoing for some eight years, but on Friday North Devon Council and the school revealed £316,000 was now in the pot.

The pitch will be on the old tennis courts in front of the school, currently used as a playground. As well as the college, it will be used by Ilfracombe Town Football Club and other sports clubs in the surrounding area.

The money for it has come numerous sources, but the Football Foundation has offered £211,000 towards the project, with £20,000 also recently pledged by the Fullabrook Community Interest Company.

The project has been led by the college and North Devon Council, whose leisure and recreation officer Richard Slaney has worked on it for some time.

The council’s executive member for culture, Derrick Spear, said the latest funding had enabled them to hit the target: “There is a desperate need for a sports facility like this in Ilfracombe and it will be well used by clubs in surrounding parishes as well. I can’t wait to see the dream become a reality now.” Headteacher Sharon Marshall added: “Under the leadership of David Slee, PE at the college has gone from strength to strength and we are one step closer to facilities which will reflect that and allow us to develop our provision further.”

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Ilfracombe district councillor and Ilfracombe Town FC trustee Mike Edmunds said it meant the team would be able to train in the town instead of having to go elsewhere, and he hoped they could encourage more youngsters into the sport.

A planning decision on the project is due within the next 12 weeks.

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