AN ARTIFICIAL football pitch will be built in a Chelmsford park after a grant of more than £305,000.

Chelmsford Council will construct the full-size, 3G pitch with floodlights, in Melbourne Park, after sports charity Football Foundation gave the authority £305,630 for the project.

The pitch will be available for local football teams, schools and community groups.

Work is set to begin this week and plans include 30 extra car parking spaces and improving pedestrian and cycling routes to the site.

Nicolette Chambers, councillor responsible for parks and heritage, said: “Melbourne Park is a key strategic venue for sport, with a long association with football.

“With support from the Football Foundation, the council is once more providing high quality community facilities which will enhance opportunities for residents to improve their health, develop skills and enjoy sport.”

Ray Ride, councillor responsible for leisure and culture, said the pitch would give sporting facilities in the city a boost, adding more plans for improvements are being lined up.

Mr Ride said: “The 3G pitch will be a real asset for the city.

“The project also provides increased athletic opportunities and infrastructure improvements to ensure everyone can access and enjoy the excellent facilities at Melbourne Park.

“Later this year, there are also plans to expand the fitness suite at the adjacent Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre.”

The Football Foundation was set up in 2000 to help promote grassroots football. The pitch is expected to be ready by spring.