Outdoor sports pitches in Wilmslow are set for improvement as a result of funding from the Premier League, the Football Association and the government's Football Foundation along with funding from Cheshire East Council.
A £200,000 injection of funding has been used to buy a fleet of modern maintenance machinery, which will give five of the borough's sports pitches, including the Jim Evison playing fields on Altrincham Road; a new lease of life, creating improved surfaces and better drainage.
The council has also acquired a robotic line marker which should help remove any dispute around a ref's penalty decisions as the machine should ensure precision white lines!
Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity, has provided a grant of £100,000 to match the £100,000 invested by the council, enabling Ansa, the council's environmental services company, to buy new tractors and specialist maintenance equipment
Playing fields benefitting from the new maintenance programme are:
● King George V, Crewe;
● Back Lane, Congleton;
● Jim Evison, Wilmslow;
● Sutton Lane, Middlewich; and
● Mary Dendy, Great Warford.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council chair of environment and communities, said: "We are grateful to the Football Foundation, the FA and the Premier League for supporting us with this important project.
"Improving the quality and durability of our sports pitches is overdue and we hope that by offering better maintenance and a higher standard of facilities, this will encourage more people to take up sport and lead active lives."
The Football Foundation offered advice to Ansa maintenance staff on how to achieve a higher standard of playing surface, using the latest machinery and applying a tailored maintenance programme for each sports ground.
Robert Sullivan, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: "This is great news for the local community. This will support people's ability to play our national game locally and, therefore, help unlock soccer's many benefits to physical and mental wellbeing.
"We are committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities and it is therefore very welcome news to hear that this funding will support Cheshire East Council to develop the pitches at these five playing fields for their local communities."