Councils seek community input on plans for sports and leisure facilities

Both districts have separately initiated consultations to evaluate existing sports pitches and leisure amenities and to come up with future options.

Residents, sports clubs and relevant organisations are encouraged to participate in the consultations and to provide feedback on what the councils need to protect, what they can improve, and what they need to provide.

The surveys can be found on the councils’ respective websites, and hard copies have been circulated to sports clubs and leisure providers across both districts.

These hard copies can also be accessed at the council offices at Abbey House in Abingdon and Better Leisure centres for non-internet users.

Oxford Mail: Abbey HouseAbbey House (Image: Vale of White Horse District Council)

In towns like Didcot, sports clubs might appeal to both districts’ residents, and such organisations are urged to comment on both consultations.

The consultations mainly aim to improve or expand current facilities, by doing things such as adding new multi-use games areas, artificial turf pitches, cycling facilities, or upgrading community halls.

External experts were engaged by the councils to assess what facilities were already available, which ones needed improvement, and where new assets could be established.

Councillor Maggie Filipova-Rivers, cabinet member for community wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We really want to hear from people who play sport in South Oxfordshire to find out what facilities matter to them.

“What’s missing, what’s working ok or what do we need to provide more of.

“We need to work within our budget with the funding available, so by engaging with those who play sport or use facilities in the district on a regular basis this can help us to focus on the key projects we need to be planning and budgeting for.”

Oxford Mail: White Horse Leisure CentreWhite Horse Leisure Centre (Image: GLL)

Councillor Andy Foulsham, cabinet member for corporate services, policy and programmes at Vale of White District Council, added: “Access to leisure and sports facilities is so important.

“They help to improve the health and wellbeing of our residents, of all ages and abilities and that is a core priority of ours.

“This consultation will enable us to identify where there are gaps in provision, where improvements can be made and what our residents need for them to live healthy and happy lives.”

The deadline for submitting comments is April 17.

Upon completion of the consultation, the councils will review the presented data and identify which projects warrant approval.

They will then work with sports clubs, town and parish councils, national governing bodies, leisure providers and other organisations to assign funding and support these approved projects.

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