ALMOST £1 million has been pledged to provide better sports facilities in the area by Wokingham Borough Council.

The council’s executive committee has agreed to spend a total of £930,000 to make a new boxing hub and a 3G pitch in separate locations in the borough.

Of that, £630,000 will go into making a boxing fitness hub in a first floor unit within the Peach Place development, which is part of the Wokingham town centre regeneration project.

Once completed, the boxing hub will provide boxing lessons, self-defence classes and the possibility of a shop that would sell boxing gear, training equipment, protein shakes and snacks.

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The plan has been hailed as an attempt to engage with the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, as in the last two Olympics (2012 and 2016) 87 per cent of medal winners in boxing for Team Great Britain were from a BAME background.

The hub will be open from 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays, according to the council’s plans.

The council projects that the boxing hub will turn a net profit of £87,230 in its first year of operation.

Bracknell News: The new boxing hub will be located in Peach Place, Wokingham town centre. Picture by Emma Sheppard.The new boxing hub will be located in Peach Place, Wokingham town centre. Picture by Emma Sheppard.

Elsewhere, £300,000 will be spent to build a new 3G sports pitch and associated car park with 40-50 spaces at Laurel Park in Earley.

The build of the pitch will actually cost an estimated £800,000 , with the remaining £500,000 of funding coming from the Football Foundation, the UK’s biggest sporting charity.

The council has rationalised the borrowing by stating that football clubs will no longer need to journey out of the borough to use pitches. The council has partnered with Laurel Park FC and Whiteknights FC, which will use the pitch once it’s built.

The pitch will require planning permission to build, with the council hoping to submit a plan this summer. If the application is approved, work will begin four weeks after the decision. It is hoped that work can start in the summer of next year.

All of the £930,000 the council will spend will come from borrowing.

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There is also a possibility that a new cricket pitch will be formed after Councillor Pauline Jorgensen raised the issue.

Cllr Jorgensen said: “I’m very pleased to see the proposal to put a 3G pitch on Laurel Park, the pitches there are a bit of a state, some of them get very wet, and I know Laurel Park FC, which has got a huge number of different teams running will be absolutely delighted with this.

“I just wondered whether you could sneak in an astroturf cricket square in there as well, there’s only one cricket pitch in Earley, that’s on Sol Joel, it’s a grass pitch and its not probably as good as it could be, so it’d be really useful if you could squeeze in an astroturf pitch in as well if that’s possible.”

Cllr Parry Batth, the council’s executive member for leisure, said the addition of a cricket square was an “fantastic idea” and that he would “definitely looking into” adding it into the plans.

The plan for the boxing fitness hub and the 3G pitch, which forms part of the council’s Leisure Strategy, were both approved unanimously at Wokingham Borough Council’s executive committee meeting on Thursday, June 24.

The entire executive committee is made up of Conservatives.