A year after the opening of the Cycle Circuit at Odd Down, construction of the new changing rooms and pavilion on Odd Down Playing Fields has now started.
This will be followed on 23rd June by work on the 3G Astro Pitch, which will be used for both football and rugby.
The development at Odd Down Playing Fields is part of over £3m investment by Bath & North East Somerset Council, Sport England, British Cycling, The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Rugby Football Union (RFU), the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund and will ensure a legacy for the whole community for generations to come.
Councillor David Dixon (Lib-Dem, Oldfield), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is keen to offer more opportunities for people to enjoy increased participation in sport – particularly those who may have low levels of activity and health inequalities.
“We’re grateful to all our supporters for helping us to continue upgrading the facilities at Odd Down so that everyone has the chance to get active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle – from children and families to the more competitive sports enthusiast.”
Construction is due to be completed by the end of year.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), partnered by Sport England, has made a grant of £23,400 towards the cost of synthetic match play pitches for the new cricket game Last Man Stands (LMS) – a new fast moving T20 game with a difference – with eight players, five ball overs and games which can be completed in less than two hours. The total project cost is £60,000 with Bath & North East Somerset Council providing the additional funding.
The Somerset Cricket Board’s Cricket Development Manager, Andrew Fairbairn, said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Bath & North East Somerset Council and we regard Odd Down as an ideal ground to develop Last Man Stands cricket. This will be the third venue for LMS in Somerset with current competitions taking place in Taunton and Minehead. This exciting format of the game is call Last Man Stands because all eight wickets need to be taken to bowl a side out. When the seventh wicket falls the Last Man Stands on his own!”
Rugby Union in Bath has also received a major boost as Odd Down Playing Fields has been chosen by the Rugby Football Union to become a Lead Up and Legacy Centre – aimed at increasing club rugby participation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup which is being staged in England and Wales.
Supporting the choice of Odd Down Playing Fields as a Legacy Centre is a grant of £80,000 which will be used to contribute to the installation of the 3G Astro Pitch and confirm a partnership between the RFU, the Council and Old Culverhaysian’s Rugby Club to be Fit for 2015. The grant will enhance the club’s facilities and provide a resource for use by the local community.
Jon Bendle, RFU Area Facilities Manager, said: “The new facilities will improve the quality of the rugby experience for everyone using the site and provide more playing opportunities, especially for local people in the 14-24 age-group.
“This investment will also support the financial sustainability leading into the Rugby World Cup and will create a focus for England 2015 and a lasting rugby union legacy for rugby in the community. The 3G Astro Pitch will help raise the profile of rugby and encourage more players, volunteers and spectators to share the special values that distinguish the sport.”
The new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Odd Down Playing Fields was made possible thanks to a £450,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
The new facility, which will provide a home for the likes of Bath Arsenal Youth FC, Bath FC and Odd Down FC, will be a regional hub for football development with a focus on sustaining and growing participation, even in the winter months when real grass pitches can become waterlogged.
Currently the city of Bath has no access to 3G AGP provision, so Odd Down will serve as a flagship site offering sportspeople access to affordable and high quality facilities.
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund is funded by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. The Fund is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity.
Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 12,000 grants worth more than £490m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £651m – over £1bn of investment into the grassroots game.
Lee Rider, The FA Regional Facilities and Investment Manager for the South West said: “The investment at Odd Down is fantastic for the City and will provide a modern fit-for-purpose facility that will improve the playing experience and allow football to grow. In a World Cup year, it is hoped that new players will be enthused to play the game and this facility will fittingly support this.”