PLANS to build a 28-acre sports and show field are moving forward with the project winning a £20,000 grant.

The Hillside Rural Activity Park scheme will see fields near the A19 in North Yorkshire transformed into football and cricket pitches, with changing rooms and car parking.

The project, which is for the villages of Knayton, Kepwick, Cowesby, Felixkirk and Borrowby, near Thirsk, will also provide a permanent home for Borrowby Agricultural Show and a base for the Hillside Scout Group.

A total of £220,000 is needed to buy the land and fund the scheme. Regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and local fundraising efforts have already contributed, and now Hambleton District Council has announced a grant of £20,000.

Dave Goodwin, the council's head of leisure and tourism services, said: "It is the one area of Hambleton that is acknowledged as being a deprived area and as such is eligible for funding from European grants to get feasibility studies done.

"It is a key project to provide a recreational area for these villages and to meet the needs of the local community."

The council's cabinet member for health, Councillor Neville Huxtable, said: "This is a terrific project which will provide a much-needed recreational space for many people living in these villages.

"It has been a long time in the planning. Now it is coming together, everyone is very excited."

It is hoped that the purchase of the land will be finalised within the next two months.