THE FINAL stages of major drainage works at a playing fields has meant youth football matches are currently on hold.
A £243,000 scheme to drain football pitches at Birchall Playing Fields in Leek is nearing completion with seeding and surface dressing now taking place.
The works have been funded by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council which has responsibility for the site.
An SMDC spokesman said: "The improvements have been carried out by County Landscape Development in three phases to accommodate the end of the last football season and this year's Leek Show. The project has been delivered on time and on budget but this summer's heatwave has resulted in the playing surfaces of the pitches not recovering as quickly as planned meaning that they won't be available for football matches to be played until the end of September."
The youth football teams of the area had set to have already started their new season's matches on the site.
Councillor Mark Deaville, cabinet member for leisure, sport, parks and countryside, at the district council, said he realised the football clubs could be inconvenienced but that every effort was being made to get the pitches ready as soon as possible.
He said: ""We've invested a substantial amount of money in improving the facilities at Birchall to enable football to played throughout the winter season so it's ironic that this summer's warm sunny weather, the longest spell for seven years, has caused these delays at the start of the new season.
"We're contacting the clubs to let them know the situation and would ask for their patience and understanding as we work to get the pitches open as soon as we can. We're aiming for the works to be completed by the end of September at the latest."