COUNCILLORS are set to splash out nearly £450,000 to keep a Huddersfield athletics facility on track.
The scheme to provide a high-quality synthetic athletics track at Leeds Road Playing Fields has been backed by a Kirklees Council Cabinet committee.
It will mean a new lease of life for a track which has literally gone to seed over many years.
Weeds poke through the red cinder track and there are large holes in the surface.
The council's deputy leader and Cabinet member for regeneration, Clr John Smithson, said: "This will provide a badly- needed and top-quality training facility for athletes in the area.
"If we are to encourage our young people, in particular, to get to the top of their sport and develop their talents and potential, it is important we do our bit to provide the highest quality facilities possible."
Clr Smithson hopes the facility will encourage all sections of the community, including disabled people, to get involved in athletics.
He added: "Developing the new facility on the site of the existing track has the benefit of the athletics community not having to seek a greenfield site somewhere else for a facility.
"The new track will add to the impressive range of facilities developed at Leeds Road Playing Fields in recent times, including the Football Development Centre, synthetic sports pitch and associated facilities."
Richard Hardcastle, president of Longwood Harriers running club, said members welcomed the announcement - but wondered why it had taken so long.
He added: "The track there now is not in any sort of condition to run on.
"Anyone who wants to train on a running track goes to Wakefield or Cleckheaton.
"Up until the start of the 1980s the track, although cinder and not synthetic, was quite well- maintained."
Mr Hardcastle, who has been a Longwood Harrier for more than 40 years, said that after national athletics chiefs said competitions should take place on synthetic tracks, the use and, consequently, maintenance of the Leeds Road site had declined.
He added: "The track has weeds and potholes on it. Some parts are disgusting.
"I'm glad there seems to have been a change in attitude."
The project is due to be completed by March next year.