The Wokingham Paper

£1.6million refurbishment proposed for sports facilities at local park

Cantley Park may get a £1.6million sporting refurbishment. Picture: Gareth James via Geograph

SPORTS facilities at a local park are set to be transformed with £1.6million investment.

A new state-of-the-art 3G pitch (subject to planning approval and Football Foundation grant), upgraded pavilion with café facilities, improvements to grass pitches and an artificial cricket-wicket are all being proposed for Cantley Park, Wokingham.

The plans will be put to Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive at its meeting next Monday.

If approved, this will be the fifth 3G pitch built in the borough. 

Currently, there are 534 active football teams across the borough, but not enough training facilities. 

The council say an additional nine 3G pitches are needed as teams are travelling outside the borough to use football pitches and winter training facilities. 

The council is also looking at on-site parking and 40 more parking spaces will be added to solve parking issues in neighbouring residential areas. 

Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “The borough council is investing millions of pounds in leisure and recreational facilities in the local area at a time when many local authorities around the country are scaling back provision. 

“Cantley Park is the largest park with playing pitches that are used by so many people from across the whole borough but it needs modernising to ensure its fit for purpose. 

“These proposals — if agreed by executive — would be fantastic for local teams, who would no longer have to travel outside the borough for matches or training. 

“But these enhancements would not only benefit the football community but all our borough residents. 

“Visiting the park, whether to exercise, meet friends, walk the dog or simply relax, is good for our health and wellbeing. These proposals would see significant investment in a much loved and well-used facility.” 

Enhancing the pitches and building the new 3G pitch is subject to planning permission and funding, a mixture of S106 money and grant funding — if successful — from Football Foundation.

The first phase of the project would see 3G pitch installed, and pavilion and parking upgraded; while the second phase would see improvements to the grass pitches. 

If proposals are agreed by the executive, the council will hold a number of drop-in information sessions in January before submitting a planning application for the 3G pitch in March 2020. 

Work would start subject to planning permission and funding approval from the Football Foundation in the summer. 

The council is also planning a major refurbishment and expansion of the existing play facilities to create a new destination play area. 

The project would be funded by developer contributions to provide enhanced borough-wide facilities for local residents and work is expected to start in 2020/21. 

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