‘Sports groups in south of Uttlesford are missing out on funding’

PUBLISHED: 08:38 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 March 2019

Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Uttlesford District Council, Saffron Walden. Picture: SaffronPhoto

SaffronPhoto 2016

Uttlesford District Council is “plunging vast amounts of money into prestige projects” in the Saffron Walden area at the expense of other parts of the district, a Labour Party candidate has said.

The council rejected proposals by Stansted district councillor Geoffrey Sell to reallocate £500,000 of proposed spending on a running track at Carver Barracks to a new reserve for community infrastructure, including sport provision, that could be utilised across other parts of the district.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, Daniel Brett, Stansted South and Birchanger Labour candidate, said: “Stansted Football Club is set to win the Essex Senior League, but to be promoted it needs to invest to meet the requirements for pitch and facilities, which it shares with the cricket club at Hargrave Park in Stansted.

“It was not promoted in 2010 because it failed to meet the requirements. It is unfair that vast resources are allocated to Saffron Walden while successful community sports groups in the south of the district need funding to grow and improve.”

After the meeting, he added: “I am disappointed that the Conservative administration rejected the councillor’s motion and seems fixated on putting a lot of money into projects in the north of the district. Even some Saffron Walden councillors noted that community sports groups in their wards did not support the expensive running track, which still lacks clarity and certainty.”

Leader of the council, Councillor Howard Rolfe, said: “The sports facility scheme at Carver Barracks has been a long term commitment from UDC. The army are now confident of remaining at Carver Barracks until at least 2032 so this certainty enables the scheme to go ahead. It is exceptional value as the army are the main funders and are undertaking some of the work. The project includes an eight-lane athletics track with floodlights as well as more football and rugby pitches.

“The council is continually improving its sporting facilities and has commissioned a review of its sports strategy which will report in April.”

The findings of this strategy will form the basis for further investments.

“I find it extraordinary that the Liberal Democrats working with R4U and now the Labour Party want to scupper a brilliant scheme that will provide enjoyment and important facilities for many. There are already some sporting facilities at Carver Barracks that are fully utilised by the local communities. The new scheme will develop an already successful model.”

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