SPORTS clubs are being asked to help decide how millions of pounds raised from housing developers will be spent in their local areas.

Groups in Wantage, Grove and Faringdon will get to say what new leisure facilities they want in the area.

The information will then feed into a review carried out by the Vale of White Horse District Council.

It comes less than a year after the local authority announced it was abandoning plans for a new leisure centre between Wantage and Grove, as the council could not raise the £18.8 million budget needed.

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The facility was set to stand next to Wantage Health Centre on Mably Way.

That project, which had been dubbed the Wessex Centre, had been paused since September 2018 while the council waited on confirmation from the Government on its intentions for future council funding.

One of the review’s outcomes will be to propose the allocation of funding for leisure generated by new housing developments in every area.

Vale councillor Helen Pighills, cabinet member for healthy communities, commented: “Through feedback from the Lockdown Lifestyle Leisure survey last year, it was clear that many people were finding a variety of different ways to keep active.

Town Crier Patrick Bird and former mayor Helen Pighills led a hardy group Beating the Bounds in Abingdon .Picture: Ric Mellis.1/1/18, Market Place, Abingdon.

Town Crier Patrick Bird and former mayor Helen Pighills led a hardy group Beating the Bounds in Abingdon .Picture: Ric Mellis.1/1/18, Market Place, Abingdon.

“The Covid-19 crisis has changed the way many people exercise, so by engaging with the community and local sports groups now, we can get a real understanding of the impact of those changes and where this funding would support residents of all ages and abilities.”

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By talking to sports clubs and other community groups the council will get an up-to-date picture of the sports and leisure provision that is currently available in the district.

It will then be able to decide what alternative projects could be introduced to these areas and the level of funding they may require.

Last year the district council said that 'building healthy communities' was one of its key priorities, as set out in its latest corporate plan.

Vale councillor Judy Roberts, cabinet member for development and infrastructure, said this new project aimed to make ‘long-lasting’ changes to leisure in the three towns.

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The councillor commented: “It is important that this funding from development agreements is spent in the way it was intended and also to the benefit of the residents in the area that generated the funding.

“We want to make long-lasting changes to the leisure facilities across Wantage, Grove and Faringdon and indeed the whole of the Vale, to encourage everyone into a more active lifestyle.

“That is why it is so important for the residents to give their feedback, so we can get a real understanding of what is needed and how this S106 funding can be used to benefit not just those who need it now, but for future generations.”

The views of local people will feed into the decisions made on how this money for leisure provision raised from housing developers can be used in the relevant communities.

The Vale council has appointed an independent consultant, Strategic Leisure Ltd, to engage with local groups over the coming weeks.