Haverhill is to become the only place in west Suffolk to boast a full-size Fifa approved 3G (third generation) turf floodlit football pitch.
The exciting new facility, surrounded by a 12ft high fence and steel railings, is to be installed on what is currently a grass football pitch separated from the main pitch at the New Croft in Chalkstone Way by a wooden fence.
The New Croft, which opened in August 2010, is owned by the Haverhill Community Sports Association (HCSA) and is currently home to Haverhill Rovers and Haverhill Borough football clubs and all their associated senior and youth teams.
HCSA facilities manager and football development officer, Peter Betts, outlined the reasons for submitting the application - which have not needed to go through a planning process because the New Croft already had permission to include a second floodlit pitch when it was built.
He said: “The main reason is to address the need in the community because participation levels in football are up massively.
“Haverhill Rovers are the lead club on the project as a charter standard community club with a five-year development programme in place.
“It is for community usage. We’ve had to address problems here with the amount of call-offs of games at youth and senior levels.”
The Suffolk FA has identified Haverhill as being one of its top three priority areas to have a 3G pitch, said Mr Betts, and once it is done, HCSA has plans to install a stand with at least 120 seats and dugouts to enable it to ‘potentially cater for everybody in the community from step five football down’.
The project costs £600,000, of which 70 per cent is covered by grant-giving organisations and local businesses have expressed an interest in adding further investment, said Mr Betts.
The pitch will also be open to local schools.
Mr Betts added: “In the 15 years I’ve been here (involved with Rovers), apart from the relocation of the main site it’s the biggest project I’ve known.
“It will be nice for Haverhill to get something first.”
It is hoped the pitch will be ready for use midway through the 2015/16 season.