North Devon and Torridge district councils have approved a strategy to shape the future of pitch sports across the districts until 2030.

North Devon and Torridge Council have adopted a document which aims to help pitch sports in North Devon.

The two councils have been working with Sport England and the national governing bodies for football, rugby union, cricket, hockey and bowls, to develop a 14-year Playing Pitch Strategy.

The strategy outlines the growing need for more facilities in the area, and that there are not currently enough facilities to cope with this demand.

Between 2017-2030, it is estimated there will be an increase in 40 football teams in North Devon, and 35 in Torridge.

It also anticipates a growth in teams across all pitch sports, and identifies sites where new pitches could be made available.

One example of strategies is to develop a new sports hub in South Molton.

The document also outlines a new 3G football turf pitch is needed in Barnstaple, preferably at Seven Brethren.

It also specifies the need for the 3G pitch at Bideford College to become FA-accredited, so that it can host match play.

The document forms part of the councils’ emerging Joint Local Plan and will be used as an evidence-base to ensure funding can be drawn down from developers and national funders to improve playing pitch provision in the two districts.

Councillor Dick Jones, executive member for parks, leisure and culture at North Devon Council, said: “A lot of work has gone into this strategy and I would like to thank all the local sports clubs and partners who helped us during the consultation.

“The strategy sets out where any new facilities should be provided as our population and demand increases and it also identifies the need to enhance current facilities to attract new users.

“Sport is clearly very important to our local communities and it has significant health and social benefits, this strategy will play an important role in supporting these needs.”

Councillor Phil Pennington, Torridge District Council’s lead member for community culture and leisure, added: “I am very pleased that the review of leisure and recreation provision in North Devon and Torridge has now been completed.

“This will be an effective tool in allowing us to plan appropriate development and provision going forward to best meet the needs identified in the study.”

You can read a copy of the strategy on the North Devon Council website.