'Once-in-a-generation' opportunity for £6m Market Drayton sport site

Market Drayton has a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity for a new £6million 30-acre sports site, a sports chief said.

The new sports site could be 40 acres and provide for the town's football, rugby, tennis and other clubs, with all-weather pitches and a sports hall.

The town council wants to move its Greenfields Sports Facility, which houses Market Drayton Town Football Club and Market Drayton Rugby Union Football Club among others.

It sits on land that Market Drayton Town Council leases from Shropshire Council.

Steven Walwyn, chair of the Market Drayton Sports Association (MDSA), was tasked by the county council with outlining a plan for the new facility, although where it would be has not yet been decided.

Consultations on where the new site could be will take place later this year.

"This is a really, really exciting opportunity – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to realise this idea," Mr Walwyn said.

He said the current Greenfields site had reached its limit and a brand new facility could be modernised, but there are no firm plans yet for what the new site would include.

"I have been involved with MDSA for 20 years, I have lived in Market Drayton for 50 years. I have seen how hard it is to keep paying the lease when you have got an old site," he added.

Mr Walwyn has been holding discussions with the sports clubs that currently use Greenfields as well as the nearby Maurice Chandler Leisure Centre.

He said the new site could cost between £6m and £10m.

The proposal to move Greenfields is included in the county council's place plan for Market Drayton and the surrounding area, identifying it as a 'Priority B project'.

The document said that the move would "be funded in part or in total through housing development on the existing Greenfields Sports Facility site".

Shropshire Council’s head of commercial services, Tim Smith, said: “Shropshire Council supports the principle of relocating and enhancing the Market Drayton sports facilities at Greenfields to a new location within the town or adjoining the town, to be determined as part of the Local Plan Review process.

“This will be subject to further consultation later this year. No decision has been taken regarding the location or specification of any new facility and how this may be funded.”

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