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Halesworth sports funding blasted

PUBLISHED: 08:00 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 07:45 01 August 2010

SPORTS facilities in Halesworth have been "slowly chipped away" with little funding to replace lost services, campaigners have claimed this week.

Halesworth's Playing Field Association (PFA) has demanded to know what has happened to money it claims should have been spent in the town.

SPORTS facilities in Halesworth have been slowly chipped away, with little funding to replace lost services, campaigners claimed this week.

Halesworth Playing Field Association (PFA) has demanded to know what has happened to money it claims should have been spent in the town. But Waveney District Council is adamant that £60,000 is still avail-able to develop sport there.

The association is to take back control of the town's swimming pool from Waveney in April after the authority announced it would no longer run it. Association members said that, without money, they could not afford to keep the place open.

Chairman Tony Goldson said it was the latest in a long line of disappointments for those involved with Halesworth sport.

He added: "About 10 years ago the Old Maltings Leisure Club was sold off for living accommodation. Part of the deal at the time was that a purpose-built sports facility would be built in the town; it is quite clear that this has not happened.

"What we want to know is: where is the money for this facility now? Has it been used elsewhere in Waveney?

"Over the years it has seemed that sports and leisure facilities in Halesworth have been slowly chipped away.

"This latest blow from Waveney that it will no longer manage the swimming pool means that we really have very little left here in the town.

"We have also been told by Waveney that £60,000 has been ring-fenced for sport and leisure facilities in Halesworth. We want to know where this money is and when the town is going to be able to use it."

But a spokesman for Waveney said: "The PFA may wish to promote a perception of Waveney apathy in Halesworth, but this simply is not borne out by the facts.

"If issues have prevented potential developments coming to fruition, this is not due to any lack of will on Waveney's part. Finding suitable land and a sustainable project to move forward in Halesworth has always been a sticking point, and the PFA are fully aware of the complexities."

The spokesman said that, in 1996, the council served a compulsory purchase order for land for new facilities but opposition forced it to abandon the scheme.

"The last project that Waveney supported was at the middle school in Halesworth, and we allocated £60,000 towards the total project sum," he said. "Unfortunately, the additional external funding was not forthcoming, but this initial capital remains available for the sole purpose of sports facilities in Halesworth and awaits allocation to an appropriate scheme."

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