COMMUNITY groups want to raise more than £700,000 to build a new sports pavilion in Old Marston in Oxford.

The parish council have clubbed together with football team Marston Saints to replace the old pavilion which has been on Boults Lane for more than 40 years.

The proposed state-of-the-art sports pavilion with changing rooms and parish council offices may cost £610,000 plus VAT.

Chairman of the Old Marston parish council Charlie Haynes said: “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“We have appointed a fundraiser and are in the process of getting a quote from the builders.

“The pavilion has been there since the late 1960s. It was never built to be a sports pavilion – it’s in a terrible state.”

The parish council plans to put in £75,000 towards the proposed pavilion and will be applying for loans for a further £200,000.

The club has hired a professional fundraiser to apply for grants for other funds needed to build the pavilion.

Mr Haynes said: “It is going be a purpose-built and designed pavilion with four changing rooms.

“There will be a parish council office in the building. We will have somewhere to keep our stuff. It will be a state-of-the-art building to encourage teams to play in Old Marston.

“Marston Saints are a very proud football club.

“We have to have standards these days especially when you have both boys’ teams and girls’ teams. We need to have changing rooms.”

The Old Marston community has been working for more than five years on the new pavilion project.

In 2008, the club proposed plans to build a £750,000 sports pavilion on the site, but the project was unsuccessful.

Vice-chairman Eddy Aldworth is “cautiously optimistic” this time round and said: “We need an awful lot of money for the project.

“We are a lot wiser now, which is good.

“We’ve appointed a professional fundraiser and she’s applying for grants from Sport England to try to find the money that we need.”

The Marston Saints Football team, made famous by former players Martin Keown and Celtic first-team coach Garry Parker, regularly use the pitch and pavilion for matches.

Mr Aldworth said it would be a relief to see the project go ahead: He added“The existing pavilion is not fit for purpose. It doesn’t have any insulation and it doesn’t have changing facilities for female players.

“The pavilion was at the end of its life about 25 years ago. The club needs something more up-to-date.”

The committee also has concerns that there may be asbestos in the building.

Marston Saints are represented in the Oxfordshire Senior League, the Oxfordshire Football Association Youth League, the Oxford Mail Youth League and the Oxford Mail Girls Football League.

There are 200 active players for the club and the committee hopes improved facilities will encourage more players and teams to come to Old Marston.