A NEW state-of-the-art football pitch is set to be installed at Brierley Hill’s Dell Stadium after Dudley Council agreed to fund the project.

Borough sports bosses are one step closer to netting £500,000 of Football Foundation funding to create the 3G pitch after councillors agreed to cough up £50,000 towards the project.

At a recent meeting of the full council, councillors backed the bid, with Brockmoor and Pensnett ward Councillor John Martin welcoming the added investment into the sports ground.

He said: “I welcome the investment into the Dell Stadium to create the 3G pitch. It is a wonderful opportunity for investment.”

By agreeing to put forward £50,000 of match funding, the council can now submit a full application to the Football Foundation and the Football Association (FA) after pre-application work was completed earlier this month.

If the council’s bid is successful and the half a million pound projects goes ahead - the stadium's ageing grass pitch would be replaced, which councillors hope would boost the facility's use as “both training and matches for all age groups could be accommodated and the likelihood of having to postpone games would be limited”.

Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley's cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “We want to take every opportunity to invest in our sports facilities wherever possible, in line with our commitment to help people lead happy and healthy lives.

“This proposal will invest in a sport which is very popular at the Dell Stadium by improving the playing surface which will attract significantly more clubs.

“We will be submitting the bid through the FA to the Football Foundation shortly and if approved this will revolutionise football training in this important area of the borough.

“The current grass pitches only allows for two games a week in good weather, but the new artificial pitch will give the opportunity to potentially play many more in a day and can be used every day of the week because of the improved surface.

"This clearly demonstrates the opportunity for more matches and football opportunities for local people as well as schools and colleges in the day time.”

However, due to the proposed pitch being a football specific playing surface, it which would mean the Dell's resident hockey clubs would end up being turfed out.

Cllr Ahmed added: “This is a difficult situation where we have to balance the need for investing in the site in sports which are most popular there, and helping sports teams who may be affected by the proposal. We are continuing to work with the local hockey clubs to make sure they are catered for elsewhere in the borough.”

According to a report which was presented to councillors outlining the scheme, an announcement of any funding will be made in May 2016, with work on the site expected to start in the summer and be completed in October.