PLANS have been tabled to build an artificial 3G floodlit football pitch at Chapel Gate sports centre.

Site owners Bournemouth University wants to deliver the new facility at the Hurn complex next to the hockey pitches.

The 3G playing area would lead to two grass 11v11 football pitches being relocated to one of the two existing cricket pitches, which doubles up for junior football pitches in the winter months.

The loss of these junior pitches will be covered by the provision offered with the 3G facility, a planning statement said.

Bournemouth University’s proposed scheme has been submitted to BCP Council’s planning department.

A planning statement submitted on behalf of Bournemouth University by Savills said: “The proposals comprise of an artificial football turf pitch to be used by SportBU, sports clubs, community/ public use, community partner use, community club use, and by the various sports community groups who use the wider facilities at the site.

“This proposal would deliver improved sports facilities at Chapel Gate sports campus and will give rise to a considerable benefit to BU and the wider community.”

The statement said the grass pitch relocation will not impact on the cricket pitch offering as the 11v11 grass pitch uses would be in the winter and cricket would continue in the summer.

The university purchased the Chapel Gate site in July 2019 and subsequently granted a 75-year lease to Bournemouth University Community Business Ltd to enable the site to be operated as a commercial business.

The 65-acre site next to Bournemouth Airport provides facilities for 15 different sports across 24 pitches and a range of indoor facilities.

Bournemouth University said it is committed to maintaining the site for sport use for the benefit of its students, staff and the wider community.

Savills statement said enhancements had already been delivered, including investing “significant capital” to reconstruct the two artificial turf hockey pitches, resurfacing the main car park and the provision of new floodlights for the main rugby pitch.

The 3G pitch would allow various formats of football (5v5, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11) through multiple pitch line markings.

The planning statement added: ”Overall the design of the 3G pitch will greatly increase pitch capacity and facilitate wider community use.

“Chapel Gate is a key site for sport within the BCP area and the improvements are important to ensure the ongoing provision of high quality and financially sustainable sports facilities, complementary to the existing facilities.”

Bournemouth University has submitted a separate application for change of use part of the first floor of the site’s clubhouse to a mixture of uses comprising offices, a day nursery and for the provision of a research and educational facility.

Both applications are currently being assessed by BCP Council planners.