Urgent work to Tipton riverbank eats into committee’s play area campaign funds

David Boyle and Mo Mylne from the Tipton Playing Field Association among the rocks that are being in

David Boyle and Mo Mylne from the Tipton Playing Field Association among the rocks that are being installed to stop erosion near the playing fields. Picture: Clarissa Place - Credit: Archant

Money earmarked to redevelop the Tipton St John play area will be used to protect the riverbank to ensure the future of the village’s playing fields.

The Tipton St John Playing Field Association has had to spend £23,000 on riverbank repairs to help combat ongoing erosion problems while it tries to raise £60,000 to revamp the nearby play area.

Specialist contractors are currently working to install 80 rocks, costing £300 each – weighing between one-and-a-half and two tonnes – along 20 metres of the bank.

Treasurer David Boyle told Ottery Town Council on Monday night that the cost of repairing the riverbank had been more than double what they were expecting and asked if the council would consider contributing financially towards the cost.

He said: “Every now and again when the river is in spate some of the rocks falls away. We have a particularly damaged section near to the entrance gate and if any more rock falls away we are going to lose the access path.

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“We do ring fence funds for repairs because we might need to spend sooner rather than later because we know the erosion problem is never going to go away.

“We have reserves which we had hoped to allocate to the playing area but our priority is to make sure we can maintain access into the field by stopping the erosion of the bank or else we lose access to everything.”

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Earlier this year, the group launched an appeal for funds to help replace the play area’s ‘rotting equipment’.

The group is trying to raise the money in one lump sum.

Members have been hard at work securing grants including £20,000 from the Postcode Local Trust and also plan to secure Big Lottery funding.

Mr Boyle asked the town council if it would be willing to hold over the £4,000 grant they allocated to be spent by April next year to avoid losing more funding.

He said after the meeting: “It is important that we do not lose the £4,000 if we are not able to start the project this year.

“It would be marvellous if any of our supporters could ‘buy a rock’ for us.”

Ottery Town Council said it would look at the requests at a finance committee meeting before bringing the recommendations back to full council.

If anyone wishes to make a donation to Tipton St John Playing Field Association contact David Boyle on 01404 815375.

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