Progress report on Audlem's sports facilities

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As part of Audlem Online's series of New Year reports on what people would like to see in the village, we asked Roland Hall, who chairs the Capital Projects Group on the Audlem Parish Plan for his thoughts, particularly about how the plans for improved sports facilities are progressing. This is what he has to say:-

"The Parish Plan launched in January 2006 set out ambitious proposals for sports facilities to be improved dramatically by 2012, the year the Olympics comes to Britain. During the past nine months or so the Community Projects Group has continued to look at ways of bringing the project to reality."

"The background is that Audlem's Sports facilities have fallen well behind the standard expected by any Community with virtually no investment since 1984 when the Tennis Club completely revamped its courts and building. The village is at least 7 miles from anywhere so sports participation is time consuming, expensive and near impossible using public transport. Youngsters and many others who cannot or do not wish to travel need a major improvement in what is available to them locally. Audlem is the natural catchment area for over 3000 residents, with a fifth under 19 years old and increased obesity across all age groups there is a national fitness crisis and our Parish Plan showed that the village wants better facilities."

"Following on the excellent initial proposals provided through local architect Bill Campbell a clearer view of what we need and can achieve has emerged. The Sports Centre would be an extension to the back of the existing Public Hall with a separate front entrance. It would provide a Badminton Hall at least 9m by 16m and 7m high with a wooden or rubberised solid floor plus a fitness suite 8m by 6m and 4m high. Home and Away Changing Rooms and Showers plus officials rooms for football and Male and Female dressing rooms and toilets (including disabled toilet) for other groups. An entrance would be provided direct from the sports field together with storage for both sports and other equipment e.g. 5A's. A drinks, refreshment and relaxation area is also proposed. The current thoughts are that the Centre would be integral with the Public Hall, sharing heating, water and power circuits. The building would be designed in accordance with the Sports Council Guidance Notes."

"The next stage is to carry out a professional survey of the site and produce outline plans and elevations for the Sports Centre. This will cost between two and three thousand pounds and our first target is to obtain funding for this initial work. A significant amount of lobbying has been undertaken and applications submitted to a number of relevant bodies and we are hopeful of success. Once this is received the design work will commence and when complete the plans will be used to make major funding requests to organisations such as the Sports Council, Football Foundation, the Lottery, Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and any other potential benefactors we can think of!"

"We always knew this would be a big challenge and success could take many years. However, rest assured the Community Projects team will not give up easily on the target to bring better sports and recreational opportunities to the people of Audlem."