NEW football, rugby, cricket and all-weather pitches are in the pipeline for Bridgwater under a sports blueprint for the district.

Sedgemoor Sports and Recreation Facilities Strategy and Action Plan, unveiled on Wednesday at Sedgemoor District Council’s executive meeting, provides an overall strategy for sports facilities in the area.

In the short term, the plan shows a need for from four to six new pitches in Bridgwater to accommodate demand.

It also recommends creating up to nine rugby pitches for use by Morganians, Bridgwater and Albion and North Petherton rugby clubs.

Speaking at the council’s executive meeting, consultant Stuart Todd of Stuart Todd Associates, said: “The balance in the district for football pitches is that there’s a deficit in terms of junior pitches and a surplus of senior pitches. The key issue is in Bridgwater where there’s a real deficit of pitches.”

The plan was approved by the council, although some members expressed concern that the plan was too focused on Bridgwater.

Cllr Chris Williams said: “There is a definite geographical imbalance in the report. The coastal areas of Sedgemoor seem under-represented.”

Cllr Bob Filmer said: “It’s understandable that Bridgwater is the main focus as that’s the main population centre, but there is an under-provision for areas outside of Bridgwater.”

Cllr Anne Fraser said: “Young people in rural areas have to be driven to football in the more populated areas.

“I represent Lyng, Broomfield and Thurloxton and you can’t even get a bus to where the sports facilities are.”

Robert Semple, reporting officer on the report, said: “If you look at figures, when you take Bridgwater out of the equation, Sedgemoor has more than enough pitches.

“When you take Bridgwater into account, for which there are about 70 teams, that’s where the over-use of current pitches comes in.”