ILKLEY has moved a 'massive' step closer to getting a 3G football pitch thanks to a £300,000 grant.

The Football Foundation confirmed this week that, after nearly three years of talks with Ilkley Town AFC, they would be making the award to support the new facility.

The grant will cover about half of the costs of creating a third generation artificial grass pitch with floodlights and perimeter fencing at Ben Rhydding Sports Club.

Delighted with the announcement, Ilkley Town says it is on course to have the pitch and supporting facilities built over the summer - and in place for next season.

Club chairman Richard Giles said: "A 3G pitch will be a game changer for football in Ilkley.

"There is a lot still to do but the grant funding is a massive hurdle we have just cleared.

"It’s now full steam ahead as we aim to have the pitch in place for the start of next season."

All teams run by the football club have also been asked to raise an extra £500 each for the fundraising effort, to ensure construction can get underway.

Mr Giles added: "We will put on a 'football-a-thon' on the new 3G pitch the first weekend it is open.

"This will be a sponsored event and all teams will be invited to take part and raise their £500 at this event."

The football pitch scheme is the first part of a bigger, four phase £2 million redevelopment of Ben Rhydding Sports Club that is intended to transform local sporting provision.

The new all weather artificial grass football surface at the site, on Coutances Way, will be usable at any time and in all types of weather.

Ilkley Town AFC, meanwhile, has also announced that it will be recruiting two new members of staff to help with the running of the new facility, with further details due to be released in the coming weeks.

For more information on bookings for the new pitch, or the roles that will be available, contact Richard Giles at .