A SITE for a new sports centre has been identified - after three separate studies that cost the public £64,000.

Consultants have recommended that the new Ryedale sports centre should be built next to Malton School, after a feasibility study that cost an estimated £24,000.

Ryedale District Council commissioned Cambridge-based Saunders-Boston to carry out the study, and consultants have concluded that the school site, off Middlecave Road, is the most suitable site for a sports centre for the central part of the district.

Two other sites were also assessed - land owned by the Fitzwilliam Estate between Old Malton Road and the River Derwent, and the old Woolgrowers site on Park Road, Norton.

The search for a central sports centre for Ryedale dates back to the mid-1990s when Malton School won support from the district council for a sports hall.

The project would have been 80 per cent Lottery-funded if the centre was also open to the public and a feasibility study was needed before Sport England would stump up the cash.

At least £25,000 was spent but the work stopped after the political shake-up at the 1999 elections.

The council then paid £15,000 to another consultant to prepare a sports strategy for the district but later rejected its recommendation.

In the latest survey, the Malton School site was selected because of its excellent access from Broughton Road, its closeness to the school, its location on the fringe of the town and the lack of risk from flooding.

On top of that, a survey showed that 46 per cent of local people thought the school site was the most suitable.

The draft report states: "The Malton School site is an excellent opportunity for future sports development for the Ryedale area.

"It is crucial that a high level thought is put into the implementation stages of the project. It is obvious the community wants to be involved."