Cambridgeshire FA is disappointed that a £650,000 grant offer from the Football Foundation for a state of the art football facility in March, Fenland is to be turned down. The offer was made to Estover Park 2015 CIC in September 2017, offering 44% of the project cost towards a full-size floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitch (FTP), changing pavilion and car park. The full project also included a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) which brought the total project cost to £1.6million.
Cambridgeshire FA has backed the development of a 3G FTP in March for many years. A 3G pitch would be of great benefit to the community, allowing clubs to grow and develop further football opportunities and providing a source of income for the host facility. The need for a 3G pitch in March has also been highlighted in Fenland District Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy (2016 – 2031).
The application to the Football Foundation was made in April 2017 with confirmed funding from March Town Council, Fenland District Council, and the Football Foundation through The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund. Further funding was expected to be secured but was not forthcoming leaving a shortfall in capital funding which would fall on March Town Council.
Cambridgeshire FA has liaised with all partners involved in an attempt to find solutions. However, the CIC board of directors and management committee agreed at a meeting on 29th January that the capital costs to March Town Council were too high for the full project to go ahead. It was instead agreed to proceed with a smaller scale project which does not include a 3G pitch at this time.
Whilst the passing over of the opportunity for a 3G FTP in March is a disappointment to Cambridgeshire FA, we are still committed to working with the clubs to provide the much needed improvements to the current facility at Estover Park and support the development of a 3G FTP in March in the future.