THE SYNTHETIC turf pitches at Active Medlock are to be replaced as part of an investment in sports and leisure facilities across Tameside.
The pitches are 19-years-old and have reached the end of their useful life so need to be resurfaced if they are to continue to be used beyond winter.
Tameside Council is investing £120,000 from its Capital Programme, money set aside for such needs.
It follows the development of Tameside Wellness Centre – Denton, an innovative project combining leisure, community and wellness facilities, including a competition swimming pool and ten-pin bowling alley, and plans to extend Hyde Leisure Pool, including a new six-lane swimming pool, changing rooms and spectator seating.
The investments will help achieve the priority of reducing physical inactivity and giving residents more opportunities to get fitter and healthier.
The new pitches will ensure a safe, high quality and high impact sports and leisure provision, which currently supports 550 visits a week – users who could otherwise miss out on regular physical activity, as well as creating a loss of income to the operator.
If no action was taken, the pitches would become unsafe and have to be closed, while repairs would only delay the replacement by around a year and cause repeated closures. Work is due to start next month and will take around four weeks.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council's Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: "This is a fantastic, well-used facility that helps people get involved in sports and keep fit and healthy, reducing the demand for more costly health and social care services.
"The pitches are well beyond their design life and ongoing repairs have become uneconomical, so it's important that we make this investment to renew this important resource.
"It's just one of a number of investments we're making across Tameside to ensure our residents are provided with first-class leisure and wellbeing facilities."
Active Medlock is one of nine sport and leisure facilities managed by Active Tameside on behalf of the Council. The facility is leased until the end of March 2024, with Active Tameside responsible for minor repairs and maintenance and the council responsible for structural repairs.
The Council will not be required to upgrade the facility in the future as a new facility lease that comes into effect from 1 April, 2024, will set out that the operator will be required to resurface the pitches.
The pitches currently generate an annual surplus of £42,000, which contributes to Active Tameside's budget, and any additional income created by increased demand will go into a fund to replace the pitches in around ten years' time.
As well as being not-for-profit, Active Tameside brings additional benefits through working with groups across society, from children to the elderly and vulnerable teenagers to disabled groups.