More than a million pounds has been allocated to leisure projects in the Vale of White Horse, but people in Wantage and Grove say more money is "urgently" needed as the population increases.

Vale of White Horse District Council is set to agree a balanced budget for 2022/23 including a £5 council tax increase.
Spending has been allocated to areas identified as important to residents in the Vale’s new Corporate Plan, this includes £1,572,000 for leisure projects across Faringdon, Wantage, Abingdon and Botley.

Money will be used to improve sports facilities including a new artificial turf pitch in Faringdon, the full refurbishment of the swimming pool changing area and a new spin studio at Wantage Leisure Centre and energy efficiency works at Abingdon’s outdoor pool. This comes after it was revealed that leisure facilities produce 51 per cent of the council's carbon emissions.

Read also: South Oxfordshire Councillors to approve 2022/23 budget

Projects will be funded through a combination of housing developer contributions and the council’s own reserves. The district council has secured the housing developer contributions from the building of new homes in the area to help improve community facilities for residents. 

However, some councillors are concerned money has not been directly allocated for leisure projects in Grove. 

Ben Mabbett, Conservative district councillor for Grove believes the town is in "dire need" of new leisure facilities. 

He said: "Grove is in dire need of leisure facilities urgently, effectively we have a rugby club and a football club, but we do not have anything apart from that. There is money going into Wantage leisure centre which Grove residents can use, but in this budget there isn't anything for Grove.

"There is money from developers for leisure facilities and I will be pressuring the administration to get to work on those plans."

Herald Series: Wantage Leisure Centre: Picture: Jon Lewis.Wantage Leisure Centre: Picture: Jon Lewis.

Julie Mabberley, spokesperson for the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group, feels more money should be spent on Wantage and Grove leisure facilities. 

Mrs Mabberly said: "We are getting all the houses, but we are not getting all the facilities."

She added: "Wantage and Grove is where the money is needed. We have not had any money spent on our leisure centre in ten years."

Read also: Citizens Advice: Increase in people seeking help with energy bills

Neil Fawcett, Liberal Democrat district councillor for Abingdon suggested the White Horse Leisure Centre would get investment to change its heating system and to make improvements to popular facilities such as the dance studio. 

He said: "Some of the investment that is going into Abingdon is improving facilities in a way that will increase income in the long term."

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “It is important that developers contribute to the local communities where they are building houses. We are committed to ensuring all the money we raise from developers both in the past and in the future provides vital infrastructure in the areas affected by the housing growth."

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here