YEOVIL is one step closer to getting a new floodlit artificial grass sports pitch that would provide the community with a full size multi-use pitch suitable for hockey, recreational football, tennis and netball.

South Somerset District Council has secured a total of £593,000 for the pitch, including £117,000 from the England Hockey Board and £476,000 from Barratt Homes - who developed the recent Wyndham Park development off Lyde Road.

The district council planned the project in 2007 in order to address a shortage of artificial grass pitches in Yeovil and South Somerset, and has set aside funds of up to £224,000.

Thanks to the England Hockey Board funding, the pitch will provide a new home for Yeovil and Sherborne Hockey Club, giving them a platform to further develop hockey in the community and support their senior sides.

During the daytime the facility will be available for use by Yeovil College and other local schools, whilst also being available for football, tennis and netball. It will also be bookable by community users.

Subject to planning permission, the intended location is next to the Athletics Arena at the council-owned Yeovil Recreation Centre – alongside the existing football pitches, pitch and putt course, flagship play area, changing rooms and refreshments kiosk.

The council's assistant director for health and well-being, Steve Joel, said: "Yeovil and South Somerset has a shortage of hockey and artificial grass pitch provision, so we are very pleased to have gained this external funding."

The district council has been working with Yeovil and Sherborne Hockey Club, which would base itself at the new pitch.

Keith Walters, club chairman, said: “This has been a long process and as chairman of the hockey club I can say this is genuinely fantastic news and, if the next process goes through, it would have huge benefits. We are delighted.

“For the last nine years our club has been playing in Dorset because there hasn’t been anywhere suitable in Yeovil, so it means we can bring the club back to South Somerset once again and we can get more community schools involved with the club.

“It will also mean the club is closer to the college again. Clearly the England Hockey Board has recognised that investment is critical in South Somerset for hockey to continue and to grow, and that is great."

National manager of clubs and facilities at the England Hockey Board, Alex Teasdale, said: "We are delighted to be investing in the facilities at Yeovil.

"Our capital funding assessment process has been a really tough for applicants and Yeovil has done well to secure not only funds from ourselves, but also to secure the total funding needed.

“We look forward to seeing Yeovil and Sherborne Hockey Club returning to the South Somerset, and the pitch being fully utilised for grassroots hockey development.

"With an exciting season ahead, and increased interest in hockey as a result of London 2012, we hope to see many newcomers join in at the new facility.”

The proposals will include a small warm up area, a range of landscaping enhancements, and a new CCTV system to oversee all facilities and improve security at the site.

A detailed design will be prepared and a planning application will be submitted later this autumn, which will be open to public viewing and comment.