Plans to flatten playing fields

YOUNG footballers in Clevedon could soon enjoy having many more pitches to use for their training sessions and matches.

Clevedon United Junior Football Club can only use two pitches on the vast area covered by its home venue of Strode Road Playing Fields because the surface slopes and dips considerably.

This varied landscape has resulted from the land below settling and moving. In the past, deep clay pits were created at the site and used for the dumping of slurry.

However, North Somerset Council now plans to bring in many tonnes of soil to raise the surface by 1m to level it out and introduce better drainage.

The scheme would not cost anything as the soil would be brought from building sites in the area.

At a Clevedon Town Council committee meeting, North Somerset Council’s leisure manager Russ Currie said: “Currently the junior football club is down to two pitches and we have been looking at a way to rectify this.

“Raising the surface by about 1m would render it flat.

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“We would ensure there were properly maintained sport pitches that would last a considerable time.”

Mr Currie hopes one half of the field could be completed by September, which would lay fallow for a year before the other half is started.

Clevedon United Junior Football Club has used the Strode Road Playing Fields for more than 15 years and currently has more than 300 members.

During the winter, the club uses the fields every Saturday and Sunday for matches. In the summer, during the lighter evenings, the club the moves its training sessions from Clevedon School’s flood-lit pitches to the Strode Road Playing Fields.

Club chairman Colston Ridge said: “This would create a better quality football surface.

“At the moment we are running up and down dips. If it was flatter it would make it a much better surface for the children to run on.

“If we had more room we could move the pitches around to rotate which bits of grass we use.”

During the town council meeting on March 2, Councillor Trevor Morgan raised concerns that any disturbance of the material below the surface could be dangerous.

However, Mr Currie said the Environment Agency has approved the work and that the project would not require any digging.