Leisure centre could replace 3G football pitch with car park

Wymondham Leisure Centre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Wymondham Leisure Centre. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

An artificial football pitch at a South Norfolk leisure centre could be sacrificed to make way for extra parking.

The 3G five-a-side football pitch at Wymondham Leisure Centre (WLC) is currently used for around 18 hours per week, catering to an average of 10 players at a time.

However, a report going before South Norfolk Council's scrutiny committee this week suggests the possibility of scrapping the pitch in favour of extra parking.

The move could be made as the council looks to address car parking issues at the centre on Norwich Road in the town.

The report, which assesses how well each of the council's leisure centres are faring, suggests there is a risk use of the WLC could decline if parking issues persist.

It says the centre is at risk of 'commercial returns not being realised at WLC due to the business plateauing and falling away due to customer dissatisfaction regarding poor car parking provision, limited class attendance access, extensive swim school waiting lists and extremely busy operations combing to prevent a risk to continued growth'.

One of the remedies suggested is the closure of the 3G pitch to create more car parking.

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Currently, the centre has 113 car parking spaces available in the day time, with a further 49 made available outside of school hours. Closing the football pitch would allow for an extra 35 spaces.

However, a decision on the issue is a way off, with the scrutiny committee only required to make note of the potential closure as an option, rather than simply making a decision.

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said: 'No firm decision has been made - it is an option that requires consideration now a full size, floodlit 3G pitch is being built in Wymondham by the council and managed by the leisure centre.

'Customers will have the opportunity to transfer to a superior facility.'

The new, full size 3G pitch is being built in Kett's Park, as part of a £1.2m improvement project for the park. Close to £400,000 of this has been provided by The Premier League and Football Association Facilities Fund, in the form of a grant.