July 28 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
A community sports asset that cost more than £130,000 – including £85,000 of town funds – has yet to be used by clubs and organisations in Ottery.
The pavilion, on land owned by Ottery Town Council, in Strawberry Lane, was completed in September last year, with civic leaders hoping that the facility would be taken up by the town’s tennis club.
But a bid by the club to secure funding for courts at the site was recently turned down, meaning the plot will remain empty until another group comes forward.
Updating town council colleagues at a meeting earlier this month, mayor Glyn Dobson said: “The sports facilities that are there are up to standard, it’s just the clubs that want to come are unable to get the money.
“We have got people who want to go there, but the problem is they can’t get the funding to do it.”
The town’s petanque club has also expressed an interest in using the land, but is unable to use the plot without funding for a suitable playing area.
Councillor Dobson told the Herald: “We had hoped the tennis club would be running down there by now.
“But they need around £100,000 to pay for the court, and it would cost the petanque club in the region of £20,000 to go there.”
He added that any clubs or organisations in the parish that are interested in making use of the land should contact the town council office.
Val Stringer, chairman of the Ottery Tennis Club, said that the group was eager to take up the Strawberry Lane site as their new home.
But she said that an application to Sport England for funding for two new floodlit courts had been refused.
She added: “At the moment we use the King’s School courts, which we are very happy with, but we are limited in terms of when we can use them.
“We would love to have courts down there [Strawberry Lane], it is absolutely perfect.”
“We are hoping to get the money to be able to do it, but for now we will have to stay where we are.”
Work to transform the once overgrown plot into a site for sport began in September 2009, and £51,000 of county council cash from the sale of Exeter Airport was spent on an access road to the field in 2010.