RISING costs of construction materials, a shortage of contract labour and fears over a rise in inflation could push up the price of a £2.2 million scheme to provide Trowbridge with a new 3G artificial pitch.

The combination means the project specification for the scheme next to the Trowbridge Rugby Club’s Doric Park ground at Hilperton is likely to change.

Cllr Stewart Palmen, leader of Trowbridge Town Council, which approved the controversial scheme in July, said costs are likely to rise.

He said: "The works have gone out to tender. The issue we are having is that material costs have gone up a great deal, especially steel, so we are looking at changing the build of the building that is going next to it, the changing rooms etc, from a steel-based structure to a more conventional concrete block type structure.

"The project will have slipped slightly, probably a term's worth, and the tendering process is the next stage. We want to get that all set as soon as possible because the interest rate on the loan will be set based on when they give us the money.

"There is a concern that if that goes out too far there is a period of inflation that could be negative, so we are trying to get that done as soon as possible."

The rise in costs is likely to be reflected in the council's 2022/2023 budget in April, with an official opening scheduled for January 2023.

The project involves building a new artificial pitch for use by football, rugby and hockey clubs, plus a gym, changing rooms, showers, therapy room, meeting rooms, storage facilities and car parking.

It will provide an all-year-round training location and will also be available for the general public to hire.

The council is taking out a controversial loan of up to £2.2 million to pay for the project over a 30-year period. It says the £2.2 million loan will be fully funded from the income generated by the fees charged to users.

The project is likely to cost £104,398 a year in interest at an annual rate of 2.48 per cent over a 30-year period, meaning the total cost could rocket to £3,131,962 in interest and loan repayments.

The council has invited tenders from prospective contractors to provide the new facilities, which will be constructed to national standards.