SPORTS bosses are hoping a new artificial football pitch could lead to the next Ronaldo hailing from Halstead.

The proposed artificial ground pitches – AGPs – at Halstead Leisure Centre, in Colne Road, will provide new spaces for youth and school football teams, including Ramsey Academy and Halstead YFC, to play all year round.

The 3G pitches will be available for use up to 87 hours a week.

Braintree Council’s planning application says: “The new AGP will especially enable children and young adults to play on appropriately sized pitches with appropriately sized goals, encouraging an increased involvement in the game to enable skill development.

“The intention is that young players will develop better technical and decision-making skills from a younger age.

“This proposal would meet with the aims of national and local policies and would provide much needed sports facility at the sports ground.”

Halstead is limited in the number of AGPs teams in the area can use.

There are a large number of teams in the area that the council believes would benefit from the facility.

The site has also been identified as a key area the Football Association wants to improve.

The council report added: “The FA has prioritised this project and has identified a need for improvement in football facilities to help deliver national strategies for grassroots football.

Nick Emery, county development manager for the FA, said: “This is a project we’ve identified with Braintree Council, and we’ve been working with them on an application to the Football Foundation.

“It would provide a fantastic new football facility in the area which will support training and matchday demand across all formats of the game.”

The plans also state: “The new AGP could be used continuously throughout the year and intensively due to its artificial grass surface and floodlighting and would potentially help address a local sports facility demands by reducing the need for players to travel to facilities outside of the local area.”

Braintree Council communities boss Peter Tattersley said: “This is an exciting major investment project for Halstead that, if approved at planning, will not only be hugely beneficial to the local football clubs, but available for the community to use for a wide variety of sports and leisure activities.

“The redevelopment of the current artificial pitch will provide a state-of-the-art playing surface suitable for FA-approved competitive matches to be played on.

“It will also provide a unique playing surface for local, junior teams to nurture future football stars.

“As a council we are committed to improving our sports facilities and by providing this all-weather 3G multi-use artificial pitch, we can meet the demand for better quality artificial pitches and build on the success of our BeWell strategy, offering opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to be active and lead healthier lives.”