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Residents vow to continue fighting sports facilities
11:40am Monday 21st January 2013 in News
RESIDENTS who oppose a scheme to build new facilities at sports fields off Sling Lane, Malvern, are to take their case to the local government obudsman.
Work to build new facilities for Newtown Sports Junior FC is set to begin next week.
Residents opposed to the scheme are to continue their fight after their complaints to Malvern Hills District Council were dismissed.
Gavin O’Mahoney, leader of the Heart of Malvern Party, formed by local residents, said: “Before the standards committee sat last week there were rumours locally that the work was to start on or around the 21st, which has now been confirmed.
“Clearly, it is disappointing that the comprehensive and detailed complaint about the development of Sling Lane playing fields should be dismissed, but is was hardly surprising that the council-appointed standards committee arrived at the decision it did.
“We will now be referring the matter to the local government ombudsman.”
For several years the fields have been the focus of a fierce dispute after Malvern Hills District Council announced its plan to lease them to the football club on a 25-year lease.
Residents immediately objected, fearing the impact of traffic, parking and noise, and loss of access to public open land.
Last week, the council’s standards committee refused to uphold complaints by two residents about the council's conduct in the case.
Now the council says its contractor, Dawnus Construction Ltd, will begin work next week on a new changing room, offroad parking and two new minisoccer pitches.
It should be finished within 17 weeks, with new pitches growing over the next six months.
The total cost is £470,000, with £282,904 coming from the Football Foundation, £42,700 from Sport England, £64,716 from Section 106 money contributed by developers as part of their planning applications, and £25,000 from the football club.
The council is providing the remaining £55,000.
Coun Phil Grove said: “This project will be a real success story for the council and for the local community as a whole.
“As an official 2012 Olympic Legacy project, it will contribute to the long-term protection of the public open space and it will also support more people to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
“In addition, it will address the parking issues along Sling Lane by providing designated park ing for those us ing the sports and recreational facilities.