IVYBRIDGE Town Football Club have ambitious plans to upgrade the facilities at their Erme Valley home off the back of winning the South West Peninsula League Premier East title. This promotion takes the club to the highest level in its 100-year history.

This project also coincides with their centennial year, 2025, and the work will involve increasing the size of the existing clubhouse, improving the car parking and modernising the dressing rooms. The latter will see the facilities become more inclusive, and subject to receiving the necessary approval, it is expected that the £500,000 project will progress this summer so as not to collide with the football season.

The club has been working alongside the Football Foundation, South Hams District Council and Ivybridge Town Council to maximise the potential of football and wider community benefits. Through these discussions, Section 106 funding and other council funding could be used to improve the pavilion and wider infrastructure at Erme Valley to provide a base that is more fit for purpose and sustainable for the club.

It is hoped that the Section 106 application will provide significant funding towards the cost of the project with £100,000 also available for the club to apply for from the Premier League Stadium Fund. As a priority, the proposed work would see the replacement of the leaky clubhouse roof and essential improvements to the overflow parking area. An enlarged function suite is also being proposed, something that can be used beyond match days.

The club spoke with local residents in a consultation event for Ivybridge Town Council in October 2022, receiving very positive feedback. Presenting the project to the council then proved to be just as successful in March 2023.

Ivybridge Town are in constant dialogue with sporting partners at the South Devon Tennis Centre, who share the same site, as well as talking to the parents of the players, ensuring the understanding of all current and future needs.

The increased revenue generated as a result of the proposed project will not only make for a more sustainable club but will allow for the rental of more football pitches in the surrounding area to increase the participation of the young people of Ivybridge to take part in football for boys and girls of all ages.

Opening the facility during the week will provide a level of employment, not to mention a much-needed community space. There is also the benefit that the capital work involved in the redevelopment will provide further employment opportunities for the local economy including various building contractors.

There is a need for additional pitches in the Ivybridge area, as has been demonstrated repeatedly in the South Hams Playing Pitch strategy, but that is not possible at this location.