Sports quest will continue

THE man behind a six-year campaign to provide a new community sports facility at Halesworth is this weekend returning all donations that have been given to the project.

THE man behind a six-year campaign to provide a new community sports facility at Halesworth is this weekend returning all donations that have been given to the project.

Alan Holzer, the sports project secretary, said: "I very much regret having to report that we cannot make progress with the project in its present form."

As reported earlier this week in the EADT funding problems have meant that present plans for a £550,000 floodlit multi-use artificial pitch and modern changing rooms to be built in the grounds of Halesworth Middle School have had to be abandoned.

It had been hoped that youngsters from the school and nearby primary schools would be able to use the new facility during school hours and that it would be available for community use at all other times.


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Despite tremendous support from the local community for a facility that is badly needed in the area there was a cash shortfall after Sport England, the organisation that distributes funds raised by the National Lottery, confirmed it would provide 65% of the capital costs and not 75% as had been thought.

"Despite every effort to search out sources of funding, we have not been able to close the gap in capital funding which would enable us to secure a Sport England lottery award and difficulties with VAT have arisen which mean that a substantial portion is not recoverable," said Mr Holzer.

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The decision to abandon the project in its present form is hard to take because it had been hoped that the new facility could be operating later this year.

"Since 1998, when we first applied for Lottery support, a tremendous amount of time and effort from a wide team of enthusiasts has gone into the project.

"So much so that we were ready to get building started in the early summer and could have opened the facility in September," said Mr Holzer.

The project secretary, who is also vice-chairman of Halesworth Town Council, said campaigners would continue working to bring new sports facilities for the Halesworth area.

"It is indeed a tragedy for our community that we have not been able to go ahead. We very much hope that we will sort matters out.

"Certainly, we do not intend to throw in the towel now," he said.

"On behalf of Halesworth Town Council, which has been the lead organisation for the project, may I thank all those who have given us their help and support. No one has been negative towards our project.

"All donations towards the project will be returned and separate letters of thanks sent to all donors and also those who pledged financial support," said Mr Holzer.

Attempts to revive the sports project is one of the agenda items that will be discussed at the Halesworth annual parish meeting being held at the town's Edgar Sewter Primary School in Norwich Road at 7.30pm on Thursday, April 29.

All residents of Halesworth are invited to come along and take part in the discussions.

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david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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