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Trust urged to help fund last sports village phase
A SPORTS trust set up 80 years ago should grab a “golden opportunity” and pay for the final stage of Bicester’s sport village.
Land has been set aside at the new Kingsmere estate for pitches, a club house, athletics track, astro-turf pitch and tennis courts.
But so far Cherwell District Council can only afford to get phases one and two, the pitches and a £2.5m clubhouse and carpark, up and running.
Phase three, the athletics track and other facilities, is on hold until about £2.3m can be found to pay for it.
The first two phases have been paid for by Kingsmere developer Countryside Properties and the council. No funding is in place for phase three.
Now two former county council cabinet members say the Bicester Sports Association (BSA) should pay for the facility and realise the “vision” of its founders.
In a joint letter former county council chairman Charles Shouler and former county education boss Michael Waine said the BSA holds the solution to completing the sports village.
Bicester county councillor Michael Waine said: “In our view the sports association, through their trust, have a responsibility to the community of Bicester for the provision of sports pitches.
“We assume they have got the money or at least got some money that could be invested in sport in this town for its future.
“It’s a one-off golden opportunity for them to show we are here and we are going to do this.
“Stage three would give us an athletics track for a first class athletics club in the town. It would see the dream complete.”
Mr Shouler said “the great and good” of the town joined forces to buy 10 acres of land, known as Barn Piece. This included the current sports pitches off Pingle Drive, and a trust was set up in the 1930s.
BSA secretary Len Payne did not completely rule out the association getting involved, but said it did not have the cash.
He said: “We don’t have a limitless amount of money, we don’t have millions tucked away in our back pocket as Charles and Michael seem to think. I’m not sure if it’s at all possible to help.
“We are very pleased that this sports village is coming on stream because it’s long overdue.”
Mr Payne also said the district council had not approached the BSA to get involved in the sports village discussions.