NEW 3G football pitches costing more than £450,000 will be installed at Worthing Leisure Centre by June.
The redevelopment project was approved at this month’s meeting of Adur and Worthing’s Joint Strategic Committee
Work to replace the current astro turf football and hockey pitch, which was first installed in 1989 and replaced in 2001, will start in April and is due to take eight weeks.
A 3G pitch is a 3rd generation product with a rubber crumb. It is more forgiving for the user and reacts in a more realistic way to grass, but is unsuitable for hockey.
The centre says that hockey use has declined in recent years and is currently only used for training for one hour every Friday evening. Sixteen matches were booked in during the 2012/13 season.
The rest of the time the pitches are booked by local football clubs and leisure leagues.
The pitches have generated an income of £75,000 to £85,000 each year for the last five years but it is estimated that the redevelopment will lead to an additional annual increase of £59,000, which would mean the loan can be paid back in nine years.
Councillors voted that the project should proceed and that 3G pitches should be delivered.
Work will start in April next year and should be completed by June.
Future proposals include increasing the size of the fitness suite and relocating the reception and soft play areas.
Duncan Anderson, general manager at the leisure centre, said: “We knew we needed to look at changing the current pitch which is astroturf so water based, as it was coming to the end of its life at 12 years old.
“We started to look around at what the trend is for other football pitches in the area. Hockey has migrated away and is being played in other venues around Worthing, so that made it an easier choice to focus entirely on football. We are turning the current three pitches into eight smaller five a side pitches as we know we can fill them.”