Planning approval given for Melton Town FC’s 3G pitch
Work is set to start next week to install Melton Town FC’s new 3G pitch after the borough council confirmed at a meeting with the club yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) that it had granted planning permission.
The club is ecstatic it can finally go ahead with putting in the artificial surface following Sport England’s announcement earlier this week that it was lifting its objection to the pitch, which would have resulted in the proposal being referred to the Secretary of State even with council planning permission.
Melton Town FC thanked the Melton Times after we broke the story about Sport England’s opposition to the pitch and national and regional media outlets which also covered the issue.
And first team manager Tom Manship said they were also grateful to Melton MP Alicia Kearns and key members of the council, including deputy leader Leigh Higgins, planning director Jim Worley and communities director Aysha Rahman, for helping to fight their case in support of the 3G field.
Tom told the Melton Times this morning: “Planning permission has been granted and it’s all systems go.
“We are waiting on a date for the contractors to start, we are anticipating any time from July 7.
“It’s a massive relief, great for the town and the community, great for our football team and our fans.
“It’s also a win for everybody and we are grateful the backing we’ve had from the Melton Times and other press, from the council and from the MP.
“We can’t wait to get started with the pitch.”
The pitch will enable the club to play at the highest level of football ever seen in the town, although their first few games will be away until the pitch is ready to play on, at the start of September.
The final first team match on the grass surface is likely to be on Tuesday evening, when Town take on Cottesmore Amateurs in a friendly, with a kick-off of 7.45pm.
Youth teams will also be able to use the new surface and Town plan to incorporate them into a pathway to the first team for the best youngsters.
Pupils at neighbouring Birch Wood Area Special School will also get use of the pitch during the day.
The school doesn’t have access to indoor or outdoor PE facilities on site and currently has to hire venues at Melton Sports Village.
This has proved a problem during the pandemic with facilities being closed at the sports hall being used as a vaccination centre.
Alison Nix, Birch Wood’s PE and sport lead, told the Melton Times: “While the Melton Town football pitch will not provide us with an indoor facility, what it will provide is a higher quality and much safer outdoor facility for our students, which will allow those who struggle with gross motor control to be more included.
“The football club has also agreed that we can use the 3G pitch as a goodwill gesture and this financial saving could mean thousands can be spent elsewhere to continue to improve the quality of physical education we provide for our SEND students, many who have very specific physio needs.
“The pitch will provide us with an alternative, safer and more versatile space that would facilitate the delivery of PE to the young people at our school.”