SPORTS pitches and a pavilion will be built on a former Ockendon landfill site.

Six new pitches plus a flood-lit astro turf surface will be laid on the former Belhus Landfill site, which is currently being restored.

Ockendon Academy is funding the work, just to the north of the school off Eriff Drive, and will use the pitches during school hours and offer it for community use in the evenings and at weekends.

A pavillion consisting of 16 changing rooms, disabled toilet and a cafe or bar will also be constructed - as will parking spaces for 124 vehicles.

Restoration work on the landfill site began in the mid-1970s, but requires more work before the pitches can be laid. Planning officers gave assurances that once the restoration work is complete, the site will be safe.

Steve Liddiard, a Labour councillor who sits on the planning committee commended the Academy on turning “toxic” land, which he dubbed a "community liability” into “something that will benefit children and the community”.

Martin Healy, another Labour councillor and planning committee member said: “I'm struggling to come up with enough superlatives to describe this. I'm thrilled.

“This is a big message from the people running Ockendon Academy to the residents that 'we are here for your health and wellbeing'.”