PLANS for a £400,000 all-weather football pitch on Didcot’s Ladygrove estate have been abandoned.

Work was due to start in the autumn to create an artificial pitch on Didcot Town FC land at Loop Meadow.

But South Oxfordshire District Council has now decided to withdraw £200,000 of funding for the scheme because the football club and Didcot Town Council failed to reach an agreement on how the facility would be managed.

Instead, the district council plans to create two all-weather pitches at a £15m new leisure centre, to be built on Reading University land as part of a new 2,000-home estate at North East Didcot.

But the leisure centre is not likely to open until 2016 and Bill Service, SODC cabinet member for leisure, said it was a “huge disappointment” that the artificial pitch would not go ahead on Ladygrove.

It was hoped that staff at Willowbrook Leisure Centre on Ladygrove, which is run by the town council, would have handled bookings for the pitch.

But talks between the town council and the football club stalled over how the two parties would share takings, after costs had been taken into account, including the price of replacing the surface every eight years.

Town council leader Margaret Davies said: “The football club wanted some value out of their land use, but couldn’t run the pitch themselves because they don’t have charitable status.

“Negotiations over where the takings would go were never concluded between the football club and the town council.”