Clarifying Turnaround

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IN 2009, Lewes Rugby Club proposed ‘Project Turnaround’ to improve Lewes District Council’s administration of the Stanley Turner Ground Recreation Ground Trust. Modified since then, four main issues remain –– Better Management – Better Playing areas – Better Facilities and Better Parking.

Lewes DC approved it and has now launched a ‘consultative document’ and questionnaire, (www.lewes.gov.uk/council/19058asp) which we hope will end a series of delays. It does however need some clarification.

Although the Rugby Club is the main proposer, Lewes Priory Cricket Club is involved through Lewes Sports Club, who will continue their 70 year management of the facilities. We welcome other participants.

Ground leases are required in order to obtain Lottery Grants, and to allow us to improve pitch quality. Additional areas are needed for the expanding Junior Rugby section – 350 boys and girls every week, and for Womens’ and Girls’ rugby teams.

About 80 percent of juniors come from Lewes area, and we are the only East Sussex club to cater for both sexes at all ages. Users of the area on Sundays will welcome adequate parking inside the ground.

It’s important to note that, although a single building will replace the obsolescent and unhygienic pavilion and clubroom, no new activities are planned, other than more sport. It will be a community asset, with facilities for the disabled, and daytime use for small organisations.

Finally, the questionnaire’s plan does not indicate that only about one-third (13 acres) of the Trust land is now used for public recreation – the rest, south of the Cockshut, is mainly let as farmland – a point to ponder when Lewes DC complain about pitches shortage.

Peter Sealey

co-ordinator, Project Turnaround