£600k pitch cash bid praise

Robbie Payne
Robbie Payne

COUNCIL officers have been praised for securing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding towards a new state-of-the-art football pitch.

But there was also concerns raised over the pricing structure for the new facility in Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council won £602,800 from the Football Foundation towards the cost of building a full-size floodlit 3G artificial turf pitch at Brierton Sports Centre, off Brierton Lane, and will be putting in £18,000 itself.

Committee chairman, Labour councillor Robbie Payne, said: “The department has done a great job in getting this money.”

To hire a third of the 3G pitch for an adult casual booking it will cost £46 per hour but that drops to £38 for adult active card members and £28 for active card adult concessions.

A casual junior booking would be £35 per hour, but again that drops to £28 for a junior active card member and £16 for a junior active card concession.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher congratulated officers on securing the funding but said he almost “fell off his chair” when he saw the proposed £35 price for youngsters and questioned the rationale for the prices.

John Mennear, the council’s assistant director of community services, said the figure of £35 was at the top end of the scale for “ad-hoc” use and said the other prices were cheaper.

Officers added it was anticipated that much of the use of the pitches would be structured use through clubs which were charged very competitive rates and that the pricing model at Brierton would also affect the pricing at Grayfields. It was indicated the annual review of charges later in the year would propose reducing the charges at Grayfields to bring them into line with Brierton.