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Funding boost for Kingfishers pitch bid

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Thatcham Town FC fundraising for new artificial pitch

THATCHAM Town Football Club’s bid for a new artificial pitch has been kick-started by Thatcham Town Council.

The FA Vase winning club is looking to provide a multi-purpose, multi-user sports area that can be used all year round.

The 62 x 42 metre pitch would also allow youth teams and other groups the chance to play at a local venue.

Councillors were told last year that the pitch would be open for community events.

But they delayed making a decision until they knew how much of the budget was needed for other projects.

At a meeting on Monday, January 21, Mike Cole (Lib Dem, Thatcham North) said he would like to support the club “with a modest amount” and suggested £5,000.

“I think the virtue of it being usable by other people in the town, it’s therefore another amenity in the town,” he said.

Also wanting to get the ball rolling was Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central), who suggested upping the stake to £10,000.

He said: “If we agree to support this there’s nothing to stop us at a later date supplementing it and adding something more.

“If the sums are inefficient we might have to decide not to spend x pounds.

“This is obviously an expensive project and will probably take a long time to come to fruition.”

Councillors asked whether developers funds, via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), could be used to pay for the scheme.

Town clerk Mel Alexander replied that CIL was an option, but added: “We also need to refurbish the Broadway toilets, which that money could be used for.”

“I don’t think anyone will be helping us to refurbish the toilets,” Mr Crumly replied.

Nathan Gregory (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) added: “We gave a substantial amount to the Nature Discovery Centre.

“I think the council has shown support to the football club in the past. We put in £15,000 to show our support.”

But councillors felt the amount was a bit much and instead agreed to contribute an initial sum of £5,000.

The club has so far raised 10 per cent of its £197,843 target.

Speaking last year, club chairman Eric Bailey said: “We have approached the Football Foundation.

“We have to go through the Berks and Bucks FA.

“They are saying they are looking to place their money with Newbury.

“They are not very keen to back this project, they are looking to provide something in Newbury.

“My argument is we have the land and facilities and this could be in use in a very short time once we have the money.”

Find out more about the application and to donate here.

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