Doubts over Exeter City charity’s plans for Exmouth sports ground

Warren View in Exmouth. Ref exe 48 18TI 5664. Picture: Terry Ife

Warren View in Exmouth. Ref exe 48 18TI 5664. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash could be ring-fenced to complete investigation works on an Exmouth sports pitch despite concerns plans to re-develop the site may not go ahead.

Warren View in Exmouth. Ref exe 48 18TI 5662. Picture: Terry Ife

Warren View in Exmouth. Ref exe 48 18TI 5662. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

According to agenda papers, landowner East Devon District Council (EDDC) wants to set aside an extra £20,000 in the 2018-19 budget to allow geo-technical and environmental tests to be completed on the Warren View Sports Ground, in Mudbank Lane.

The investigations were requested by developer Exeter City Community Trust (ECCT) to give reassurances about the site prior to creating new all-weather pitches on the plot.

In the council documents, officers recommended that councillors agree an extra £20,000 to be set aside for the works, despite ECCT not having funding in place for the project and not having submitted a planning application.

ECCT say it is fully committed to the project but it has to ‘explore the possible implications’ of building on the site.

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The agenda report, ahead of the EDDC cabinet meeting on Wednesday, November 28, states: “It is unknown whether ECCT could still feasibly obtain grant funding and progress their planned development.

“There is a risk that the work being undertaken by EDDC is of limited value as it is being carried out in response to, and tailored to, the proposed ECCT development.

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“It is not work that would normally be undertaken as a matter of course as a responsible landowner, and it is not necessarily of use if alternative plans for the site were brought forward.”

Julian Tagg, chairman of ECCT, said: “As a registered charity we are dedicated to providing health and wellbeing activities for people of all ages and from all walks of life across Exeter and East Devon.

“We know how important facilities like this are for local communities and we are exploring all funding avenues to create a community sport hub, which will suit the needs of the people of Exmouth.

“We will do everything we can to make this a reality, but we have to ensure that all the background diligence work is completed to the highest standard to enable us to pursue the funding for such a development.”

East Devon District Council cabinet members will meet at Knowle, Sidmouth, on Wednesday, November 28, from 5.30pm..

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