Plans for new sports facilities on playing fields in Loftus have been approved by Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The plans for the Ben Scott playing fields in Westfield Way by the Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation involve replacing an old changing cabin with a building housing a sports pavilion with new changing facilities, toilets and showers.

A 3G artificial pitch is also being added while a new access road will be built, along with 54 new parking spaces.

The plans have arisen from a partnership with the local authority and the Football Foundation, which receives funding from the Premier League, the FA and the Government.

Loftus ward councillor Tim Gray, who was among those consulted, said: “It is a massive plus for the town.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The current playing fields in Westfield Way, Loftus which are being developed

“It is going to be a state of the art pitch, fenced off and secure, and it is only good for Loftus.”

A planning statement submitted by Lynsey Edwards, of the MFC Foundation, said: “The current playing fields have two football goals and closed changing rooms, but have limited to no usage. 

“Following a desk-based study in consultation with local football partners, there is an opportunity and demand to build a new sports facility in Loftus to support the Foundation with continuing our East Cleveland work and support the demand for growth of football.”

It said the foundation would move from its current East Cleveland base at Hunley Hall, Brotton, to the site, having previously occupied the old co-operative building in Loftus.

Referring to the financing of the project, the statement said:  “As a charity, the Foundation is able to apply for a variety of grants and funds, including those from the associated charities of the Premier League and English Football League to deliver projects which aim to support the following reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour, increase physical activity, improve community cohesion, improve mental wellbeing and increase employability.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: A proposed site plan for the sports project

It is hoped about 5,000 people a year will access the new facilities with the Premier League Kicks national programme, which provides diversionary activities for young people, being expanded and delivered every week night, along with some weekends.

The statement said the new building would also include an indoor multi-use room for the community, office and kitchenette.

It said: “This multi-use room will lend itself well for physical activity such as yoga, pilates, fitness classes etc, as well as some of our non-sports programmes such as knit and natter, education workshops and coffee mornings, as well as being a function room for the community to use for events.”

Loftus Town Council said it supported the application and “considers it will be a wonderful resource for Loftus and the wider area”.

In his submission to the planning authority, John Stockwell, secretary of the Loftus Community Forum, said: “This is an opportunity to gain a first class facility for the children and young people of Loftus and the surrounding villages.

“We in Loftus wholeheartedly approve of this development which will be available to all schools, community groups and individuals."