New Exmouth sports hub could find ‘next Ethan Ampadu’
PUBLISHED: 17:09 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:09 03 December 2018
It is hoped a new sports hub in Exmouth could create ‘another Ethan Ampadu’ if six-figure funding can be secured.
The Exeter City Community Trust (ECCT) and East Devon District Council (EDDC) have plans for a multi-use synthetic surface pitch and other multi-sport facilities at the Warren View Sports Ground.
EDDC’s cabinet on Wednesday (November 28) night agreed to set aside an extra £20,000 to allow geo-technical and environmental tests to be completed as ECCT wanted further reassurances about the site.
Councillors agreed to commit the extra cash - even though there is a risk that the development may not go ahead - as it was the key to unlocking £1.5m of Football Association funding.
Cllr Steve Gazzard, himself an Exeter City season ticket holder, was fully supportive of the plans, and said ‘it may even produce another international just like ex-Exmouth Community College student Ethan Ampadu’.
Ampadu, 18, was the youngest player to appear for Exeter City when he made his senior debut aged 15 years old in August 2016.
Ampadu, who has also played six times for Wales, moved to Chelsea in July 2017.
EDDC’s chief executive Mark Williams said that the extra £20,000 of work was needed as the degree of comfort to ensure that the Trust need for the best chance of success means the council needs to do more investigation than they initially intended to do.
He added: “The money is at risk, but we are putting in the money so the organisation who can lead us to £1.5m have the confidence to go forward with the scheme.”
Cllr Philip Skinner, deputy leader of the council, said the funds would potentially see a £1.5m investment in Warren View that can finally deliver a 3G pitch for the biggest town in Devon.
He added: “This is more than just looking for somewhere for the odd football game on a Saturday afternoon. I have been approached by Exmouth Town Football Club who are pleading for help due to the lack of all-weather pitches to train on. They sometimes have to train on the Imperial Road car park as the pitches are too wet. Exmouth is biggest town in Devon and we have no 3G pitch.”