SPORT BOOST: Planned revamp to university netball facility
Image of artist impression of facilities: LDRS
Plans to revamp netball facilities at a Walsall university campus have been backed to boost the sport in the region.
University of Wolverhampton has put forward a proposal to Walsall Council planners to erect floodlights, new seating and additional fencing at its netball and tennis courts at the Gorway campus.
In the application, the university said it wanted to provide enhanced facilities so it can be used for West Midlands Regional League standard down to grass roots levels.
It said it was already considered the “unofficial home” of West Midlands Netball, hosting indoor tournaments and events, and now wanted to bolster the outdoor provision.
The plans have been backed by Sport England-affiliated Active Black Country, British Universities and Colleges Sport, Netball West Midlands, Yendy’s Netball Club as well as the neighbouring Walsall Rugby and Walsall Cricket Clubs.
Agents Delta Planning said: “The key purpose is to provide a facility against which to build a significant rise in participation in netball both amongst students and the local community to align with England Netball’s strategic aim of getting more people ‘back to netball’.
“The University of Wolverhampton has been the unofficial home of West Midlands Netball for the last five years and have already hosted their indoor tournaments for a number of years.
“Whilst the elite netball is mainly played indoors, most of ‘grassroots’ netball is played outdoors. It is this grass roots participation level which this facility seeks to support and grow.
“The present courts are currently in a very poor condition, and as a result are underutilised both as a teaching space and as resource for the general public.
“Floodlit netball courts are in short supply but are essential in order for a facility to be used for winter league matches.
“Floodlit pitches will significant support increased participation as well as the long term viability of the courts.”
In a letter of support, Active West Midlands added: “We are supportive of any investment which improves the sporting infrastructure of the Black Country, and the subsequent opportunities for the wider region to participate in netball.
“As well as the community benefit from this work we are also excited by the potential that the refurbishment of outdoor courts on campus could attract further inward investment into the town by the way of regional and national competitions.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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