TWO brand new 3G football pitches costing almost £1.2million, were unveiled on Saturday.

The pitches were officially opened by Blackburn with Darwen Leisure facilities boss Graham Harris, and culture boss, Councillor Damian Talbot, at Witton Park, after cash for the installation was secured from the Football Foundation and housing developers 106 contributions.

Mr Harris said he’s incredibly proud of the pitches, which he called 'impressive and state of the art'.

He said: “Today is the first time they’ve been used and it’s unbelievable to see just how many people are down here today. It’s the busiest I’ve seen it.

“We’ve spent almost £1.2million on this, and these two new 3G pitches will now allow 11-a-side and league football to be played here.

“The turf is great too, it’s just like being on soil.

“The old pitches were so dilapidated and they were becoming dangerous and we had to make a decision to either close them or invest in them, so we applied to the Football Foundation who gave us some money and we got housing developers’ section 106 contributions from the Sappi Paper Mill development too.”

The infrastructure of the site includes two full-sized pitches, floodlights, high fencing, and a viewing platform for parents.

The changing rooms have even had a refurb too.

Mr Harris added: “It’s fantastic really. We are booked up from 9am until 5pm on a Saturday now and throughout the week we are almost booked up too.

“We haven’t even had to market them, they’ve literally sold themselves. "

Executive member for leisure, culture and sport, Damian Talbot, said it’s amazing that this kind of facility is in place in the borough.

Cllr Talbot said: “It was always going to be a challenge to replace the pitches with the council budgets as they are, so it’s good that we’ve been able to partner with the Football Foundation.

“The pitches are more expensive than normal ones as they have a long term sustainability, so we’ll save enough money so that every 10 years we can replace the surfaces when they get worn out.

“When you see hundreds of people here, like there are today, and so many children, you realise people value football so much, and it’s great for the kids to get them active.

“Hopefully, there may be some Rovers stars of the future coming through here.”