Indoor Sports

New Brickfields facility will be a ‘beacon for sport, health, wellbeing and community’

Councillor Pat Patel photographed with Max Venables - Plymouth Albion, Mark Lovell - Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, and Dave Brown - DCLL.
Councillor Pat Patel photographed with Max Venables – Plymouth Albion, Mark Lovell – Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, and Dave Brown – DCLL.

A massive £21 million investment for Brickfields was yesterday agreed at the Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet meeting (9 March), bringing new multi-sport facilities to the Devonport area, alongside a new community hub designed to support wellbeing needs of local people.

The proposals have been put forward thanks to a partnership between Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Argyle Football Club, Plymouth Argyle Community Trust, Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club and Devonport Community Leisure Ltd.

The entire complex will be reconfigured and upgraded with:

  • Facilities for Plymouth Argyle’s academy, including a new building with class rooms, changing rooms and office space, as well as training pitches.
  • An improved suite of playing pitches, providing three grass playing pitches for football
  • Replacement of an existing grass rugby training pitch with a new 3G pitch
  • A new floodlit 3G football pitch to replace a poor condition (currently closed) hockey pitch 
  • A new, covered 3G football pitch
  • Conversion of the existing 60m x 40m rubber crumb pitch to two PlayZones exclusively for public use.
  • Better site access, public realm and parking.

The scheme also includes a new community hub run by Plymouth Argyle Community Trust and initial concepts include expanding the existing offer within the sports centre. As well as a location for indoor sports it could become a base for:

  • Education and employment programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships and adult education
  • Support in physical, mental, emotional wellbeing as well as help with money management
  • A dedicated space for young people and youth service provision
  • Soft play, improved affordable gym and studio facilities alongside a community café offering low cost food is also being considered.

At the Cabinet Meeting, Councillor Pat Patel, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “I am really excited about the future of Brickfields. This is a huge £21m inward investment project that will not only transform the Brickfields site, but it will transform the Devonport community and sports across the City.

“This is about our ambition for Plymouth communities. It is about better health outcomes for the people of Devonport and better access to facilities.

“This deal is the result of an amazing and long term partnership between the Plymouth Argyle Football Club, Argyle Community Trust, Plymouth Albion and Devonport Community Leisure. I would like to thank all those partners, the users of the site and ward councillors for getting this project over the line. I am so proud about what the team has achieved together.”

Also speaking at the Cabinet meeting were representatives from the sporting partners. At the meeting, Andrew Parkinson, Plymouth Argyle Chief Executive, said: “We delighted to be delivering this project. It has an example of dialogue and collaboration across multiple stakeholders.

“When we set out this project we set out a number of objectives. The first is about sporting excellence, enhancing an underutilised site, improving facilities and providing an exemplar multi-sport venue.

“It will be able to attract, retain and develop the best sporting talent in our city.

“Our second objective was community engagement. We will connect the whole of the local community with the site through a new hub. This will result in increased usage, regeneration and sustainability.

“This is a once in a generational opportunity for the city. It will be a beacon for sport, health and wellbeing, the community and all those involved.”

Mark Lovell, Community Manager at Plymouth Argyle, also added: “Over the last nine months we have worked with a number of partners and residents to consult with them on the future of the site and what they would like to see. Some of the common themes include indoor spaces, improved outdoor spaces, low cost, community usage, versatility, making sure it could be used by families, education, a youth zone and a café.

“We will now continue with that engagement in further detail as the project continues and develop a facility that will not only prioritise sporting excellence, but will also have a strong community offer.”

Max Venables, Managing Director of Plymouth Albion, also said: “This is extremely rare that three organisations have come together and their aspirations, wants and needs align so nicely.

“This space will be what the city deserves. I would like to thank the Council bringing us all together to make this happen.”

Plymouth Argyle Football Club have signalled an investment of £11 million from the club with a further £7.3 million from Argyle Community Trust, including external grants. The Council’s investment includes the transfer of land to the three clubs and a capital contribution of £2.75 million – funded through maintenance and management savings which are expected to be made as a result of the asset transfer.

The mechanism for the scheme will be a deal which enables Plymouth City Council, as landlord, to enter into new leases with each partner and to change the arrangements for operating and managing the Brickfields Sport Centre.

Ongoing discussions are taking place with England Hockey to ensure the Council’s commitment to secure the future of hockey in the city is realised, with investment set aside for this purpose. There is also funding ring-fenced for offsite provision for petanque.

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