Leisure centre users have reacted with delight to news that new pitches will be built in Ongar following a £200,000 grant from Essex County Council.
It is part of a £1.4 million project to boost leisure in the town, and the new funding will be used to build a multi-sport hub at Ongar Leisure Centre, Fyfield Road, Ongar, which will include junior, youth and adult facilities for football, netball, rugby and cricket.
An artificial pitch with floodlights and a cricket square is also planned, and existing pitches will undergo levelling and drainage works.
Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) also intends to introduce netball facilities at the site.
West Ham United run community coaching sessions for youngsters at the centre at the Gables on Friday evenings.
The club's community football development officer, Brian Glover, said the cash injection could see more youngsters taking part.
He said: "The floodlighting means we can play for longer and offer later training sessions, which is helpful to parents because they often can't drop their children off at the start of the training.
"It's been a very popular session and this money means we can encourage more children to take part, get fit and have fun at the same time."
Councillor Heather Harding, EFDC's cabinet member for leisure and young people, said: "This is absolutely fantastic news. We are looking forward to developing a facility which will not only be an asset for Ongar, but for the whole district.
"We are most grateful for Essex County Council's support in providing this opportunity to offer improved sports facilities for the district."
The £200,000 grant will be added to £507,000 capital funding already agreed by EFDC, and £700,000 funding from the Football Foundation, making the total planned-spend on the project just more than £1.4 million.
Leisure centre manager Laura Dunstone said: "We are delighted by the proposed investment by the local council and the FA in our area. We are fully supportive of any initiative that encourages more of our local community to become more active."
Source:-Waltham Forrest Gaurdian