AFTER falling foul of bats and access for archers plans for an artificial football pitch and floodlighting in Devizes are finally on target.

Most of the money to pay for the £500,000 project has now been found and the town council expects contracts with builders will be signed in early May.

Work to create a pavilion with changing facilities on the ground floor and offices for the football association upstairs could start this summer.

In addition to the artificial surface there will also be traditional pitches and parking for 105 cars.

It means that four years after Nathan Sheridan the chairman of Devizes Town Youth called for more provision for young footballers in Devizes the dream is starting to become a reality.

He said: "We are getting very excited about this. It will be brilliant for our club and for youth football in general. It has been spoken about for such a long time but now at last it seems it is going to happen."

Town clerk Simon Fisher said: "We are heading in the right direction but the real celebrations will start once everything is finalised in May."

The town council has agreed that 106 contributions from developers building in the town can be put towards the project along with cash from the town council's budget and a grant from the Football Association.

Planning permission for the project was finally given in November after an earlier plan came up against ecologists worried that the flood lights might affect protected bats.

This meant that the layout of the 3G pitch had to be changed and Devizes Bowmen were worried that its practice area would no longer be accessible to disabled members.

But some objections to the project have come from people living nearby. Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes was worried about an increase in traffic to the junction of Green Lane and Byron Road.

Wiltshire police also wanted changes to the design of the scheme because of fears of anti-social behaviour. They were against the pavilion having a flat roof as there was a danger people would climb on it. They also had concerns due to the lack of lighting in the car park.