WORK should start soon on the first phase of a new £2.5million sports village in Burnley.

Council bosses are awaiting final confirmation that they have received £350,000 from the Football Foundation for the ambitious Prairie playing fields scheme.

The initiative has already been given £350,000 by Sport England and the authority will borrow £1.5million to make their proposals for a new ‘3G’ sports pitch, gym and driving range a reality.

Councillors have approved plans, subject to the grant being approved by the foundation’s board, for construction to begin on the synthetic pitch before the end of the 2013-14 financial year. Mick Cartledge, community services director, said in his report: “This ambitious scheme will see the regeneration of the Prairie site, with the development of new changing facilities, a gym and driving range.

“If the Football Foundation bid is successful, the scheme will lever in £700,000 of external funding. The business plan demonstrates prudential borrowing of £1.5million would be appropriate for funding the development.”

Another £240,000 had been sought from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities — Active Streets project.

Council bosses will now seek a development partner for the pavilion and golf driving range elements of the scheme, which will follow later. Plans are in place for a ‘grassroots’ academy there.

Management of the centre, which has been backed by the Lancashire FA, English Golf Union and Rugby Football League, is expected to be overseen by the borough’s new leisure trust.