NEW football pitches and allotments look set to be built on land behind Thornbury Leisure Centre.

South Gloucestershire Council has confirmed this week that it is in negotiations with both Club Thornbury and Thornbury Town Council about allowing the groups to develop up to four hectares of land for their own purposes.

Club Thornbury, which was formed to promote sports groups in the town, has previously tried to buy land in the town so it could build football pitches for the Thornbury Falcons.

The junior football club, which has 330 players, had been struggling to find enough local pitches to play matches every week.

Toni Watola, chairman of Club Thornbury, said: "We have looked at several different potential locations, including privately-owned land to the south of the leisure centre. However, we have ruled this out for now because of the cost of purchasing the site.

"Purchasing a site is a hurdle which doesn't exist if we take up the council's kind offer of using their land to the east of the leisure centre.

"We have a lot more detailed work to do. For instance, we now need to work closely with the council and others on the layout to ensure that we maximise the best possible use of the site.

"It is an exciting time for Thornbury Football and we are all working hard to achieve our goals."

South Gloucestershire Council has said that Club Thornbury would share the four hectares with Thornbury Town Council, who would use the land to provide more allotments for residents.

Thornbury has had a shortage of allotments for some time with the town council having to close its waiting list because people were having to wait up to five years for a plot to become available.

Cllr Guy Rawlinson, chairman of the Thornbury Town Council’s Environment Committee, said: "We are having some progress with South Gloucestershire and the provision of land at the side of leisure centre car park. We are now in discussions about the conversion of that land."

Local green group Sustainable Thornbury started a campaign to find land for more allotments called Extra Allotments for Thornbury (EAT).

Cllr Matthew Riddle, South Gloucestershire councillor for the Severn ward, who has facilitated meetings with the authority’s planners, and Club Thornbury, said: "Identifying this large council-owned site presents us with a great opportunity to further explore how we can meet the local need for additional sports pitches and allotments."