Hockey teams get all-weather pitch

A Norfolk high school is to get its first all-weather pitch which will be a boost to local hockey teams.

A Norfolk high school is to get its first all-weather pitch which will be a boost to local hockey teams.

The synthetic grass pitch, which will have specialist floodlighting, will be the first full-size all-weather hockey pitch in south Norfolk, and can also be used for other sports.

The plan for Hobart High School in Loddon has been in the pipeline since 2004, but now the funding has been found and, as long as the project gets planning permission, work can start in late spring.

At the moment south Norfolk, with a population of 110,000 people, has no all-weather hockey pitch, even though Sport England recommends that there should be one for every 60,000 people. It is estimated that it would be used by an average of 52 users a day from the local community, in addition to pupils. An all-weather pitch will also allow local hockey clubs, which cannot be promoted without better facilities, to move up their leagues.

It will also help the 800-pupil school, which is so short of pitch space that it uses the village playing field to supplement its own pitches. Headteacher John Robson said: “The artificial turf pitch will provide ideal facilities for teaching hockey… The pitch will also be used for all school fixtures, removing the current requirement to travel 15 miles to use the artificial turf pitches at the University of East Anglia.”

A report from Norfolk Property Consultants, which is drawing up the plans, says: “The proposal will greatly enhance the recreation facilities on the site available to a wide range of pupils, residents and local clubs.”

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But the consultants add that the main disadvantage of proposal is that it will prevent a 400m athletics track being provided on the school field - albeit there will be scope for a 200m track.