THE last ball has been kicked on an aging Felpham pitch.
Work on installing the new all-weather pitch at the Arun Leisure Centre, in Felpham, started on Monday.
The new 3G artificial turf pitch is being put in after Arun District Council secured Olympic legacy funding to help them meet the costs of replacing it.
Arun’s cabinet member for environmental services with responsibility for leisure Paul Dendle said: “The new pitch will provide the local sporting community with a great new, quality facility that will not only be available for football clubs to use, but rugby and other sports clubs as well.
“This funding shows the council’s commitment to investing in local leisure facilities for Arun and the greater Bognor Regis area.
“We will continue to invest in the district by taking forward some of the projects agreed in Arun’s leisure strategy over the coming years.”
A total of £360,000 is being spent on replacing the pitch and upgrading its fencing and lighting.
Work is due to be completed in December this year.
Some £210,000 is being funded by Arun District Council with an extra £150,000 it successfully secured from Sport England’s inspired facilities fund.
The old sand-based pitch was nearly 20 years old and without the funding would have to have been closed.
The new 3G surface will replicate the qualities of natural grass but won’t become waterlogged in the winter so clubs will be able to use it all year round.
Cllr Dendle was joined by chief executive of Inspire Leisure John Stride and Bryn Hauxwell, curriculum leader of PE at the neighbouring Felpham Community College, in kicking the last ball on the old pitch.
The leisure centre is one of more than 300 projects across England receiving lottery investment from the fourth round of the inspired facilities fund and one of more than 1,300 to benefit overall.
Many more communities are now set to benefit from the hugely popular fund, after Sport England announced it was extending inspired facilities until 2017, with an additional £40m of National Lottery funding to be invested.