Work has begun to build a new £112,000 all-weather games area in East Devon for a host of sporting and outdoor activities.
Construction work began on Monday (October 24) at the Newton Poppleford Playing Field, near Back Lane, and is expected to continue for the next eight weeks – if the weather allows.
The district council hopes the new area will encourage new sporting teams to set up, for all-year-round activities, such as netball, walking football and other games.
The project, being led by Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, has been funded by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Section 106 money and Community Infrastructure Levy funds – cash paid to the authorities by developers to use on community projects.
Councillor Chris Burhop, Chair of Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council, said: “This new multi-use games area is the result of several years of consulting with the local community, planning and hard work.
“The parish council is therefore delighted that this project can finally get underway.
“The new multi-use games area will be a step change in facilities in the parish and, having an all-weather surface, the area is bound to be well-used by a wide range of residents all year round.”
He added: “As a parish council we are committed to continue to expand the facilities of this parish, especially for sport and exercise and we will be looking at what we can do next.
“I hope we can see new teams being formed from the parish to make use of this facility, such as netball, five-a-side football and futsal.
“Many years ago, we had a netball team based in the village which had to disband when their court was resurfaced, and netball lines were not replaced. It would be great to see netball back.”
EDDC said the playing field was already home to well-used tennis courts, football and cricket pitches, plus a children’s playground.
Councillor Nick Hookway, EDDC portfolio holder for culture, sport, leisure and tourism, said the district council was ‘delighted’ to help fund additional sporting opportunities in East Devon.
Cllr Hookway said: “East Devon District Council is delighted to provide funds to support Newton Poppleford and Harpford Parish Council in extending sports facilities for its residents.
“This new games area will have a big impact on improving the health and wellbeing of the local community – as regular exercise is key to good all-round health for all age groups across the community.
“As football and netball are such popular sports, let’s hope that these new facilities will help to develop local talent to meet national standards.”
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