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The Evening Telegraph, 11th February 2011, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Council to investigate state of sports pitches

The condition of a town’s sports pitches is being reviewed by councillors.

Rushden Town Council wants to check the condition of its sports pitches at Spencer Park, Jubilee Park and Manor Park to see if it needs to carry out any work on them and whether it would be financially viable to do so.

Cllr. David Jenney, who chairs the council’s sports and leisure working group, said: “We have to look at all the pitches. The quality of the pitches at Jubilee Park gives us no cause for concern but we do have concerns about the effect rabbits are having on Manor Park and about the impact the annual fair is having at Spencer Park. We want to see what we can do to mitigate against these problems.”

About five years ago around £50,000 was invested at Manor Park, including the installation of fencing to keep out rabbits, but the councillors said it had been about 50 years since money had been spent on the pitches at Spencer Park.

Cllr. Steven North said: “We need to know whether it is viable to invest in Spencer Park at all or whether to leave it for rough play and invest into the higher quality pitches at Manor Park.”

Cllr. Ron Pinnock also reminded councillors they had looked at putting in new changing rooms at Jubilee Park in the past.

He said: “When we demolished the old changing rooms about five years ago we got drawings and estimates for rebuilding them which came to about £90,000. They were for proper changing rooms with home and away facilities, a referee’s room and disabled toilets. That plan is something we could look into. The services from the old rooms should still be there.”

The council is also looking to set up meetings with sports clubs and groups in the town and Northamptonshire Sport.

Cllr. Jenney added: “We’ve discussed a sport partnership for the town, bringing in money as it is envisaged there will be difficulties with funding coming from councils in the future, but we could act as a facilitator.”

Fellow North, who is also chairman of Northamptonshire Sport, felt confident funding would be available for county clubs.

He said: “The funding by Sport England and the National Lottery has gone up as we head towards the Olympic Games.

“Funding for sport is pretty good.”

The council will seek professional independent advice about the pitches and how they should be improved.

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