Posted: 15.01.21 at 13:03 by Hannah Corfield
East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council have £300,000 to spend on creating new sports facilities in Exmouth or improving ones that already exist.
Residents have now voted on what the money should be spent on.
The funds – Section 106 money – have been collected by East Devon District Council from housing developments in the parish.
Since 2008 they’ve had a clear policy of ensuring that residents and town and parish councils choose how the money is spent.
In 2019 East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council asked Exmouth’s residents, voluntary groups and other organisations to give them their ideas on how to spend the funding.
The councils then worked together with the people that proposed the projects to find out which of those proposals were eligible, affordable and can actually happen.
All seven eligible, possible and affordable projects went to a community vote last year. 5,000 randomly selected Exmouth households received a letter in the post giving them a unique online code.
They could use this code to go online and vote for their households favourite projects. 1,082 households took part in the voting.
The following two projects were the most popular in the voting:
Resurfacing the large sand astro pitch at Exmouth Community College which is at the end of its life. It’s used by community groups in the evenings, as well as being used extensively by the college.
It’s used for sports including football, hockey, rounders, soft ball, American football, handball, tag rugby, athletics and cricket.
Asking for: £150,000
Out of all households that voted, 52% voted for this project. This amounts to 567 households.
Adding new sports related equipment into Brixington park, all free to use:
One end of a tarmacked games area with one goal for sports such as football and basketball and side panels for target practise.
Outdoor gym equipment.
Improvements to the informal pitch in the middle of the park, including some drainage improvements, some levelling and new football goals.
Graphics on part of a widened footpath for children to practice cycling.
Improved and extended footpaths and seating.
Asking for: £150,000
Out of all households that voted, 41% voted for this project. This amounts to 449 households.
The results themselves and the most popular projects have already been acknowledged as being where the money should be spent by the Exmouth Town Council Section 106 / CIL Working Party.
The Working Party recommendation will now go to Exmouth Town Council’s next Full Council meeting for ratification. Once that has been done, it will go to East Devon District Council for sign off.
The intention of the two councils is that the money already in would be spent, up to the £300,000 limit, and then as further Section 106 money is collected (if any is collected) then work down the list of projects as far as possible and appropriate over the next three years.
The other projects, in order of how many votes they received were:
A free to use concrete track with bumps and small slopes for wheeled sports such as BMX, skateboards and scooters in Carter Avenue Park.
Asking for: £60,000
Out of all households that voted, 400 households / 37% voted for this project.
Expanding the current concrete skate park in Phear Park, which is free to use. This is used by skateboarders, scooters and BMX riders.
Asking for: £240,000
Out of all households that voted, 398 households / 37% voted for this project.
A back stretch/back exercise wall in Phear Park with exercises listed along its length, this would be free to use. This would help people of all ages to straighten and strengthen their backs and necks.
Asking for: £5,000
Out of all households that voted, 251 households / 23% voted for this project.
A new drainage system at Exmouth Rugby Club for the two pitches and grass area next to Marine Way, allowing them to be able to be used more often. Matches and training are often called off because of waterlogged pitches.
Asking for: £210,000
Out of all households that voted, 249 households / 23% voted for this project.
Additional car parking area at Withycombe Raleigh Common Football Pitches, home of the Brixington Blues and used by other clubs and teams. This would increase the usability of the pitches and make the parking safer.
Asking for: £40,000
Out of all households that voted, 214 households / 20% voted for this project.
East Devon District Council were already aware of the local support for Phear Park skate park expansion, and had sought funding through their own capital bids process in case the scheme did not receive enough votes in the s106 sports voting.
This capital funding was approved by East Devon District Council’s Budget Setting and Capital Allocations Panel and Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
If this is approved by their Full Council meeting in early February, East Devon District Council would pay for expansion of the skate park and start this project during 2021.
In addition, now East Devon District Council are aware of the popularity of the free to use concrete track with bumps and small slopes for wheeled sports, they will also start investigating how they might be able to deliver this, if it isn’t soon funded by additional Section 106 monies.
Chairman of Exmouth Town Council’s Section 106/Community Infrastructure Levy Working Party, Councillor Fred Caygill said: "I am pleased to say that finally we have a result on the public vote for the allocation of Section 106 funds for community sports projects in Exmouth.
"Health and wellbeing are two particularly important subjects that we should all be encouraging in all sectors and at all levels."
The two projects that came in at 1st and 2nd place as voted by the public were welcomed by the working group and accepted unanimously to recommend to Exmouth’s full council.
These are two projects that will benefit all sections of the community and I am sure will be welcomed by the people of Exmouth as being worthy winners of the Public Vote.
Councillor Sarah Jackson, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Democracy and Transparency said: "Despite the ongoing pandemic, 'the show must go on' wherever practicable and safe to do so.
"It is important that Section 106 money is put to good use within our communities as intended.
"I must therefore pay thanks to EDDC officers and the former portfolio holder for Democracy and Transparency, Cllr Paul Millar, who, in collaboration with Exmouth Town Council, devised a method to ensure that a great many members of the public were given the opportunity to participate in a public vote, at a time when social distancing rules put a stop to our usual face-to-face consultation process.
"The 1,082 households that responded represent a great many more individuals across all age groups, which is surely a triumph.
"I am, therefore, delighted to see that these much-anticipated funds will be delivered to the residents of Exmouth through these two superb projects.
"Let me extend my thanks to the many people who engaged in the process and voted.
"For those who put forward other projects which were unsuccessful this time around, I thank you for your participation in the democratic S106 process, and would encourage you to support any future funding bids available through the District Council.”
Councillor Vicky Johns, East Devon District Council Member Champion for Sports and Exercise said: "I’m thrilled that there will be more sports and recreation facilities for the people of Exmouth.
"I’m hoping to see more Section 106 money being used shortly for more communities in East Devon.”