AN exciting vision to enhance Victoria Park as part of plans to create a centre of excellence and boost sporting participation have edged closer.

The project aims to convert one of the existing pitches adjacent to the Asics stadium into a 3G pitch.

It will consist of an artificial grass surface with floodlights, security fencing, controlled gates, an access path to and from the Asics stadium and space for spectators.

The vision is focused on delivering a community facility to support the development of rugby league and sport in the town, creating a centre of excellence while supporting the wider health, education, social inclusion and community cohesion challenges.

The scheme aims to make Victoria Park, off Knutsford Road, a key hub of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 legacy.

The award of the construction contract for the 3G pitch was recently approved by the council’s cabinet, with the 16-week construction phase due to begin on Monday, July 6.

The project is estimated to cost £1,127,000. It is made up from £600,000 of Rugby Football League (RFL) legacy funding, with the remaining £527,000 to come from the council.

It is set to generate an annual revenue income of £128,580 in year one, rising to £144,718 in year five, with an ongoing revenue net cost estimated at £118,050 in year one, rising to £131,044 in year five.

Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, said the pitch will ensure players can train for longer throughout the year, with fewer sessions lost due to the weather.

He said: “I’m pleased that we are delivering on our promise to support the opportunity for further sporting activities that this 3G pitch will enable, especially around dealing with the oversubscription of rugby and football.

“What this 3G pitch will bring is greater opportunities for people with disabilities to play on a safer and consistent surface all year round under all weather conditions, supporting the rise in female participation in rugby and football because we will create more playing opportunities.”

The council’s bid, in partnership with the Warrington Wolves Foundation (WWF), for investment into the 3G pitch was submitted to the RFL for Rugby League World Cup 2021 legacy funding. It was confirmed that the bid was successful in February.

WWF director Neil Kelly says the scheme will be a huge step forward for rugby league as a whole.

He added: “The facility will not only benefit our community clubs but also regional and national programmes.

“I’m excited as a former rugby league development officer 20 years ago there were only three community clubs, now we have a thriving rugby league family that also gives a lot back.

“The facility will be first class and the Warrington Wolves Foundation inclusive programmes through sport, health and education will have a huge impact.”