Saffron Walden gets sports facility boost

PUBLISHED: 17:12 24 February 2012

HOPE has not gone out of plans to develop new athletics facilities for the Saffron Walden community, despite the project being pushed off track.

For more than two years the town council has been working closely with the Saffron Walden’s principle athletics clubs, WaldenTri and Saffron Striders, to provide a running track to meet the rapid growth and popularity of athletics and triathlon.

It was hoped that a full 400 metre, all-weather track could be incorporated with the proposed development of football pitches and changing room facilities behind Little Walden Road – itself part of a housing package which would see 15 homes built on the site.

That has suffered a setback “over several technical reasons”, notably after the Oil and Pipelines Agency said the land can not be levelled because of a fuel pipe running under the proposed site. Installation of the other facilities, such as the football pitches, will go ahead.

Town mayor Cliff Treadwell told the Reporter that developing sports facilities in Saffron Walden is a “key priority”, particularly in Olympics year.

“This is a big town with a sporty community but we don’t provide any facilities for athletics,” he said.

“We were very upset that we couldn’t have the running track but we have not abandoned hope just yet.

“There are a few more sites that we have in mind where a running track could be built and it is our next priority – especially this year because of the London Olympics.”

Between them WaldenTri and Saffron Striders offer around 500 people – including many youngsters – an involvement with athletics.

Both are keenly attended and hopes are high that increasing the town’s sports capacity with a running track facility fit to be able to hold competitions would attract more members and be of considerable benefit to schools and other clubs.

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