Clubs queue to use planned Ottery sports facility

SCORES of organisations, in need of a permanent home and an area to practice, have already lodged an interest in using the Strawberry Lane land.

SCORES of organisations, in need of a permanent home and an area to practice, have already lodged an interest in using the Strawberry Lane land.

However, as excitement grows over the project, Ottery's mayor has warned that the town council could be "restricted" in who it allows to use the facility.

Groups who have lodged an interest include Ottery's archery club, a play group, a football club, community church group, and the Ottery St. Mary Silver Band.

A community group has also expressed an interest in creating a public garden and orchard.


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"A lot of people are interested," said Glyn Dobson, "but there are restrictions on the land. These will need to be discussed by the town council and we will look at each case on its own merits."

The council has long hoped the overgrown land will be transformed for sporting use, and the site has garnered interest from international class sportsmen.

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Enthusiastic Cliff Jones, leading coach for the Croquet Association of Great Britain, had just returned from international competition in Jersey on Wednesday to cast an eye over the land that he has "high hopes" of teaching townsfolk on.

Cliff told the Herald: "It would be ideal to have a croquet club here, right in the middle of the region. It's brilliant, these are exciting times and what is what is super special is it could involve other sports as well. We want to attract younger people to play croquet, as many as possible, they are the future of the sport. Disabled and wheelchair croquet is something that is sadly lacking and I would like to look at bringing that here."

Original land-owner Mr Nick Cave this week gave the town council special permission to ease a covenant on the land, stating the grounds could only be used for croquet.

That news could mean everything to organisations such as the Ottery Petanque Club. Chairman John Thatcher said: "We're currently based at the Salston Manor and allowed to remain there for the time being, but our future is uncertain.

"A good permanent home is what we're looking for. To see this area developed for community use would be brilliant.

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