PLANS to install a new all-weather artificial football pitch in Woodley have been given the final seal of approval.

Wokingham Borough Council has signed off the proposal to build a £500,000 3G artificial football pitch in Woodford Park after months of site inspections and public consultation.

It is hoped the new facilities, which will be completed with floodlights and a 59-space car park, will relieve pressure on five-a-side commercial venue Goals in Woodlands Avenue, near Bulmershe Leisure Centre.

The Football Association, through the Football Foundation, will stump up half of the cash to build the full size pitch and Woodley Town Council has taken out a loan to pay the rest.

Borough and town council leader, councillor Keith Baker, is confident this money will not come out of taxpayers’ pockets and is thrilled that the proposal has now got the go ahead, believing it will act as a community pitch for youngsters.

He said: “The approval is the last piece in the jigsaw to go ahead and secure the Football Federation grant. Permission has been given by the town council to take out the loan to pay for our share.

“We have got a couple of loans maturing, so with the difference, it won’t cost residents any money. The fundamental difference between us and Goals is that they are a commercial enterprise.

“Of course we need to remain commercial in terms of breaking even, but our pitch will be for

children and schools to use during the day.”

Woodford Park is now home to the town’s first war memorial – unveiled in July last year – as well as a skate park and tennis courts. These courts will now make way for the 3G pitch car park.

Residents in Ferriers Close, which backs on to the park, feared the pitch would cause noise and light pollution, but plans have been revisited to reduce any potential disruption.

Cllr Baker is hopeful the 3G pitch, which can be split up into small sided sections, will be opened on schedule, to coincide with the beginning of the 2015/16 football season. He added: “It was only right and proper that we looked into things when the residents raised issues. Changes were then built into the project, and it hasn’t affected our scheduled unveiling.”