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Funding failure for town's sports

PUBLISHED: 13:40 14 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:25 03 July 2010

A MAJOR blow has been dealt to a long awaited sports facility in Stalham following the failure of a six-figure funding bid.

Supporters of the town's Active Living Centre learned this week that government money will not be available for the £1.

A MAJOR blow has been dealt to a long awaited sports facility in Stalham following the failure of a six-figure funding bid.

Supporters of the town's Active Living Centre learned this week that government money will not be available for the £1.3m project.

The £845,000 application to extend Stalham Sports Centre, based at the town's high school, was controversially turned down by the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

The news has been greeted with dismay by backers of the plan spearheaded by Stalham and Happing Partnership.

It would have provided new changing and meeting rooms and bar facilities more than doubling the size of the existing sports centre, providing daytime access for local residents - who currently only use it weekends and evenings.

Reasons given for rejecting the bid were the risk the new centre would not generate enough income because it would have to attract a significant number of users from outside the town; uncertain revenue support from North Norfolk District Council; the insufficient number extra jobs and economic activity created and unsympathetic impact of the building.

Partnership chairman Eric Lindo said he was still determined to see the project realised, after two and a half years planning.

“We have given this project our 100pc commitment and have pulled out all the stops to secure funding,” he added.

“It is extremely sad that residents in Stalham and surrounding villages will not now be getting this much-needed facility.

“We will however work with the local Sports Centre to promote maximum use of those facilities by the local community outside of school hours.

“It is surprising decision as EEDA contributed to the cost of the business plan and we will be asking them to reconsider.”

Funding support had been agreed with the district council and Sport England and got through the first of a three stage EEDA application process before being turned down.

The sports centre currently provides a sports hall, hard play surface and pitches for local clubs and residents outside school hours.

North Norfolk District Council's strategic resources director Sheila Oxtoby said: “I would like to express my disappointment at this unexpected and disappointing response regarding EEDA funding.

“The more so as contrary to the impression given in EEDA's refusal letter the district council and Happing Partnership had indeed put in place arrangements to secure ongoing council revenue support for the new venture.”

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