Is £600,000 pitch on way to Spalding?

Youth development director Chris Maplethorpe wants an artificial pitch at the Sir Halley Stewart Field. SG011116-285aTW
Youth development director Chris Maplethorpe wants an artificial pitch at the Sir Halley Stewart Field. SG011116-285aTW
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An artificial pitch worth up to £600,000 could be on its way to Spalding and Tulips bosses would like it to replace the turf at Sir Halley Stewart Field.

The 3G or 4G pitch would be funded by the Football Association (FA) and Sport England but it could only go to Winfrey Avenue if Spalding United gets a 25-year lease on the ground.

South Holland District Council deputy leader Nick Worth believes a lease would be out of the question because the field was left in trust to the people of Spalding although he has offered to work with the Tulips to help find a suitable site “within the Spalding area”.

Tulips youth development director Chris Maplethorpe said: “We are eligible for all of the grants that are there but until we have got a bit of land with a 25-year lease we can’t do anything.”

He says the new pitch would be available for the people of Spalding – for all kinds of sports as well as club teams and 250 youth players – and the trust issue should not stand in the way of the plan.

Mr Maplethorpe said it will save council taxpayers around £40,000 a year in maintenance costs if an artificial pitch is installed at Sir Halley Stewart Field.

Chris Maplethorpe says Spalding United and the town could lose the chance of the artificial pitch if another club from this area pips them to the post and applies to the FA.

He says it costs the council £40,000 to maintain the Halley Stewart field, while maintenance of a 3G pitch costing £20,000, but earnings from all of the potential bookings could be up to £80,000 a year if Spalding follows in Bedworth United’s footsteps.

Tulips chairman Andy Gay is delighted council leader Gary Porter promised to look at it if he gets a proposal on his desk.