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Derbyshire’s soggy, over-used sports pitches and school playing fields need replacing

today1 September 2022 1

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Key sports clubs in a part of Derbyshire may need to find new homes in the not too distant future with the area experiencing a wide shortfall in facilities, a new report has shown. The Amber Valley Sports Playing Pitch Strategy has assessed the needs of the borough for the next five years and has found that widespread expansion and improvement of facilities is required.

Of particular importance, it highlights, is securing the long-term security of Amber Valley Rugby Club and football teams Belper Town and Belper United – with a priority to explore options for new homes for the clubs.The report also says that Alfreton is among 72 locations being considered for a new national indoor tennis centre.

Read more: Developer plans hundreds of homes on Derbyshire toxic waste dump

It says that the borough has a “significant netball landscape with two of the biggest clubs in the county originating from the borough”, and there is a need for more facilities, suggesting further netball space could be built within the potential new tennis centre.

A number of sports sites across the borough are continually affected by both flooding and poor drainage and this is a key priority to fix, with feasibility studies to be carried out for key sites.

The plan details that sports facilities on school sites are currently “poor” and that the council could pursue housing developers for payments associated with new homes schemes to help fund improvements.

Overall, the plan says there is a shortage of four full-time 3G artificial grass pitches, with an additional one required specifically in the Belper area.

Current facilities for most sports are generally capable of meeting current demand but have been found to be insufficient to provide space for a future increase in activity.

Without further facilities, such as for football, cricket or rugby, existing pitches can become “overplayed” through overuse.

On Amber Valley Rugby Club, based off the B600 in Somercotes, the report details: “Pursue proposed site relocation and the development of a new rugby union club site for Amber Valley RUFC, ensuring that the proposal is able to meet Sport England Playing Field Policy and that new provision is development to recommended RFU design specifications.

“If the prospective move does not take place, look to secure long term tenure of the site for AVRC and make relevant improvements to pitch quality to alleviate overplay.”

The Somercotes site is a former toxic tip which had been used to deposit harmful materials for years. It is currently the subject of plans for up to 250 homes, along with a scheme for a range of industrial units.

As for the Belper Town and Belper United facilities at Raygar Stadium, close to the Belper Mills complex, the report says: “As priority investigate new home ground locations to secure long-term future for Belper United.

“Undertake PitchPower assessment to develop a programme of technical recommendations to support the improvement of pitch quality as required.

“In the longer term, explore the feasibility of relocating the pitch as part of longer term Belper Meadow Sports Club potential relocation.”

The report details that improvements will be sought at: Denby Cricket Club, Eyes Meadows in Duffield, Herbert Strutt Playing Fields in Belper, Aldercar High School, Charles Hill Sports Complex in Loscoe, Shipley Hall Cricket Club, Nottingham Road Playing Fields and Greenwich Park in Ripley, the Ripley Academy and Quarndon Cricket Club.

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