SPORTS ZONE: Protestors save Yeovil Rec

Yeovil Express: Protestors packed Westland Leisure Complex for the crucial Sports Zone meeting. PHOTO: Steve Sowden Protestors packed Westland Leisure Complex for the crucial Sports Zone meeting. PHOTO: Steve Sowden

PROTESTORS were full of smiles about an hour ago when members of South Somerset District Council decided to throw the planned £28-million Yeovil Sports Zone project into jeopardy.

Councillors voted narrowly against going ahead with a proposal to make an outline planning application for the exciting project to be sited at the Yeovil Recreation Centre.

It was gone midnight when council chairman, Cllr Ian Martin, announced that councillors had voted 31-25 against the centre, more commonly known as Mudford Rec, from being used as the location for the Sports Zone.

Council leader, Cllr Tim Carroll, and his senior colleagues, as well as officers, looked distraught at the bombshell.

Protestors, however, who had sat through more than five hours of emotional and heated debate about the project whooped with delight when the result was given.

The meeting was held at Westland Leisure Complex in Yeovil and several hundred people packed the main ballroom to listen to the lengthy discussions.

An original meeting, scheduled to have taken place last month at the council's Brympton Way offices, was abandoned on safety grounds because there were too many members of the public wanting to cram into the council chamber.

Although moved to the larger venue of Westland, there was still only enough room for residents to gather for the long-awaited debate.

Five hours later and the first vote was taken in which councillors voted 32-24 in favour of the overall idea of the Sports Zone project.

Moments later Cllrs Simon Bending, Mike Best, Geoff Clarke, Jenny Kenton, Michael Lewis and Derek Yeomans had 'jumped ship' and gone from supporting the first recommendation and objecting to the crucial second - namely the siting of the Sports Zone at the Yeovil Recreation Centre.

It was enough to see the protestors win the day and campaign spokesman Ashley Strelling was full of smiles and was seen shaking hands with fellow campaigners as they left the leisure complex.

But what now for the Sports Zone project? It means that council officers will have to go back to the drawing board and look at alternative sites.

The problem being was that the Yeovil Rec site had already been identified as the best location for the state-of-the-art sporting facilities.

More news on tonight's dramatic developments throughout the night.

Comments (1)

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2:10pm Sat 10 Jan 09

The Barbarian says...

What many people have failed to recognise is that YDSC already own Mudford Rec and so there would be no costs involved in land purchase. If they now have to purchase land then there will be less to spend on the facility.

When people have mentioned democracy at work then I have to agree as we elected the muppets that turned this down so its our own fault. The noisy minority rabble have won and protected their dog walking area.

I have also heard that it would not be appropriate to have a £28M facility built during the economic downturn. That's exactly what we need! It would create immediate and long term jobs. You will find that central government will start all sorts of infrastructure projects and forget about the "green aspect" now just to get the economy moving.

We have missed a great opportunity here and it frankly makes me want to move away to a town with more foresight. Yeovil District Swimming Club, with over 200 kids swimming for them, have to train at Sherborne and Milfield as well as Goldenstones because the facilities here are not good enough. A 50m pool with a proper spectators area would have attracted competitions away from Milfield, Weston S Mare and other places bringing thousands of kids with their families all spending money in Yeovil. If the facility is built out of town then less money will be brought into local shops, restaurants, cafes etc as not as many people will bother coming into the town.

I am not prepared to subsidise an area that is used for dog walking and sport only occasionally and I propose it is now used to build houses or an industrial estate!
What many people have failed to recognise is that YDSC already own Mudford Rec and so there would be no costs involved in land purchase. If they now have to purchase land then there will be less to spend on the facility. When people have mentioned democracy at work then I have to agree as we elected the muppets that turned this down so its our own fault. The noisy minority rabble have won and protected their dog walking area. I have also heard that it would not be appropriate to have a £28M facility built during the economic downturn. That's exactly what we need! It would create immediate and long term jobs. You will find that central government will start all sorts of infrastructure projects and forget about the "green aspect" now just to get the economy moving. We have missed a great opportunity here and it frankly makes me want to move away to a town with more foresight. Yeovil District Swimming Club, with over 200 kids swimming for them, have to train at Sherborne and Milfield as well as Goldenstones because the facilities here are not good enough. A 50m pool with a proper spectators area would have attracted competitions away from Milfield, Weston S Mare and other places bringing thousands of kids with their families all spending money in Yeovil. If the facility is built out of town then less money will be brought into local shops, restaurants, cafes etc as not as many people will bother coming into the town. I am not prepared to subsidise an area that is used for dog walking and sport only occasionally and I propose it is now used to build houses or an industrial estate! The Barbarian
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