New pitches, refurbished facilities and a maintenance hub are among Test Valley Borough Council’s plans to develop sports facilities throughout the region.

The plans were unveiled at a meeting of TVBC’s cabinet last night (September 9), where councillors unanimously approved the Test Valley Playing Pitch and Sports Facilities Strategies, which cover a range of sports from football and cricket to golf and croquet.

One big ticket item on the council’s radar is the potential provision of a new artificial pitch for football and rugby. Though the site has yet to be determined, Foxcotte Sports Park has been touted as a possible location, with the Council expecting to spend up to £1.2 million on this new pitch if it is deemed to be feasible. Foxcotte may also be reconfigured to increase pitch capacity for rugby.

This new pitch is needed to help accommodate up to 16 new football teams, both men’s and women’s, that the council expects to form up to 2036. This would be assisted by opening up and developing school sports pitches, such as those at Harrow Way, to host community sports events. A predicted explosion in youth football may also see some adult pitches overmarked.

For Cricket, TVBC has said that “consideration should be given to [a non-turf pitch] on the London Road Playing Fields adjacent to the Andover Cricket Club ground.” This would complement the planned replacement of the pavilion at the club, as well as the replacement of the “poor quality” pitch at Winton Community School. Hockey players will also benefit from a new pitch, with a second pitch “likely” to be needed to meet future demand in Andover at a cost of £800,000.

Further plans include the resurfacing of the track at Charlton Sports Centre in the long term, looking into the feasibility of lighting at Andover’s BMX track to extend the time it can be used for, and the possibility of a ‘Maintenance Hub’ for rugby, football and cricket to provide specialist equipment and support to pitches across Test Valley.

It’s not good news for users of Charlton Sports Centre’s golf course, however, as the council intends to review “the needs case and viability” of the site. This could mean the introduction of football golf on the site and the reduction of the course to nine holes, with the released land used for other activities such as cycling.

Councillor David Drew described the plans as “absolutely spot on,” adding that he had “no hesitation whatsoever” in supporting the plans.

He was joined in his praise by Cllr Adams-King, who praised TVBC’s leisure team for “providing some really excellent facilities.”

The strategies will now be used to inform future development decisions across the borough.