Cash hope for Sidmouth field dashed

PUBLISHED: 18:00 25 March 2011

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(c) Adam Gault

HOPES a Sidmouth recreational area could get a cash boost, from initiatives set up to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Games, have been dashed.

HOPES that a Sidmouth recreational area could get a cash boost, from initiatives set up to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Games, have been dashed.

Sidmouth Town Council has given up on a bid to see if Long Park could be eligible for help from a project spearheaded by Prince William to mark the events in 2012.

The Herald reported in February how civic leaders were tentatively optimistic that the site, between Arcot and Sidford Roads, could benefit from being designated as a Queen Elizabeth II Field.

The Fields in Trust initiative is a programme to protect 2,012 outdoor recreational spaces in communities across the country as a permanent living legacy of the landmark occasions.

However, councillors unanimously agreed not to proceed with the project at their full meeting earlier this month over fears they would lose control of Long Park.

Town clerk Trina Jarrett said: “There is funding available, but when you dig deeper there is always a catch.”

She discovered in scheme small-print that designation criteria was “contrary to what the council first envisaged.”

“It is not, as originally assumed, merely a dedication of the land but would appear to be a disposal. In the future, if the town council wanted to do certain things, such as erect any building or temporary structure, the consent of Field In Trust (FIT) would be required. Consent from FIT would also be required to dispose of the land at any time in the future.”

Scheme clauses also stated designated land must take on charitable status and FIT would have an advisory role over the site.

“We’ve worked too hard to get control of these playing fields to give them to another authority just for a bit of money,” said Councillor Mary Jolly.

“I think we should leave well alone,” added Cllr Sylvia Carr.

“A number of other schemes might fit the bill,” said Cllr Simon Pollentine.


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