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Wellow stages parish poll over sports scheme

By Chron_News  |  Posted: January 21, 2013

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Villagers in Wellow will go to the polls on Saturday to have their say on proposals to make more use of its playing field.

The parish council is holding a referendum to gauge community feeling on a scheme put forward by the Wellow Sports Project to transform the playing field.

The group has been working on the project for the last year and has taken advice from the Football Association and the Lawn Tennis Association.

In an unusual move, the scheme will be put to a public vote at the village hall between 8am and 8pm.

The proposals are for a pavilion and hard tennis courts with fencing and lighting, outdoor gym equipment, cricket nets and a running track.

There are also plans to reduce the size of the current football pitch so it can be used for five, six or seven-a-side games.

Supporters of the scheme say it will help the community to harness the enthusiasm of the Olympics but the project has split the community, which is why the parish council has now called the referendum.

The poll is open to all villagers over the age of 16.

Parish council chairman, Councillor Hugh Prentice, said he was urging all villagers to take part in the referendum.

He said: “The survey is non-binding on the parish council but we will be placing great weight on the view expressed before making our decision.”

Mr Prentice said that for the council to support the proposal, it would have to be satisfied there was funding for the scheme and that it was financially sustainable. The council is also taking advice on the legal status of a deed covering the playing field which could mean the scheme has to be approved by the Charity Commission.

Initial costings for the scheme are between £125,000 and £150,000, with the LTA promising 50 per cent of the funding.

Chairman of the Wellow Sports Project, Peter Downey, said that the scheme would not go ahead unless all the funding was in place.

He said: “We now have a website www.wellowsports.org where people can see our plans, the consultations carried out and letters of support we have had.”

Arrangements are being made for villagers unable to get to the village hall to vote - contact Alex Martin on 01225 835254.

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