New Norwich football centre planned

Sam EmanuelWhile all eyes are on South Africa for the World Cup, a small patch of land in Bowthorpe could be turned into a fantastic new facility to produce some of the country's next footballing stars.Sam Emanuel

While all eyes are on South Africa for the World Cup, a small patch of land in Bowthorpe could be turned into a fantastic new facility to produce some of the country's next footballing stars.

Plans to turn a grassed area in Bowthorpe Park into a fenced off, floodlit football pitch with changing rooms are set to be unveiled this week by Norfolk County Football Association (NCFA), and the public are being invited to have their say on Friday.

If approved, the pitch would also be the base for NCFA's coach education programme, Festivals of Football events and training sessions, and an intermediate midweek floodlit league for over-16s, under-18s and women. It could also host local club, league and county fixtures.

A spokesman for NCFA said: 'We have high aspirations for the development of grass roots football and have already invested more than �250,000 in developing and refurbishing the site at Bowthorpe known as the Football Development Centre (FDC).


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'A key aim of the FDC is to offer footballing opportunities at a state-of-the-art facility at affordable prices in order to support the future development of grassroots football in the county.

'In 2009, NCFA took over the lease of the Bowthorpe Park all-weather football facility from Powerleague. The area of the site which is the focal point of this consultation is currently an informal grass pitch for which the FA is seeking a long term lease. At present this area is not within the council's sports pitch maintenance programme.'

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The plans for the facility, which would be built on land owned by Norwich City Council, will be unveiled at the Football Development Centre in Clover Hill Road on Friday, June 18, at 6.30pm.

Officers from the city council's open spaces and sports development teams and staff from NCFA will be on hand to answer questions and listen to people's views.

Any local residents who cannot attend will be able to offer their opinions on the plans through the council's website - www.norwich.gov.uk - from Monday, June 21. The results of the consultation will be published on the council's website after they have been collated.

Do you have a story about Bowthorpe? Contact reporter Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email sam.emanuel@archant.co.uk

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