Call for more sporting facilities to cater for Dunmow’s growing population

11:37 27 March 2014

Archant

Double the number of tennis courts, a 50-metre swimming pool and another cricket pitch are just some of the sporting facilities on Great Dunmow’s wish list as the town seeks to provide for a growing population.

Great Dunmow’s sport facilities wish-list

• Cricket field

• Four to six tennis courts

• Four to six football pitches for senior and junior clubs

• An all-weather sports facility at the leisure centre for five-a-side football, tennis, netball and football training

• More studio space at the leisure centre

• A 50-metre swimming pool and a nursery pool at the leisure centre

• Rugby fields

• Netball courts

As more developments are given approval, and with more in the pipeline, concerns continue to mount over the “inadequate” facilities the town has to offer.

Darren Dack, a fundraiser and press secretary of Dunmow Atlantis Swimming Club, said the scant pickings were not enough to support the town’s current population.

He has compiled a report looking into the current state of sport facilities in Great Dunmow. And he is keen to see more cash offered by developers as part of their planning applications chanelled into sporting provision.

Mr Dack told the Broadcast: “There was a survey taken by Uttlesford District Council regarding the sporting facilities in Great Dunmow and their findings were that we have adequate facilities. But this is incorrect.

“Every club I went to was either full or close to reaching its capacity. I want to see some of the s106 funding that we get from the new developments used to create facilities in Dunmow that are adequate for the town.”

Mr Dack, who is a member of the Great Dunmow Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, claimed that clubs are being forced out of town to train and to play matches.

Youngsters also have to travel to the likes of Braintree, Bishop’s Stortford and Chelmsford to take part in sports such as gymnastics, he added.

Yet many of the town’s clubs are witnessing a huge surge in membership. The swimming club, for example, has seen its members grow from 50 to 165 in just five years.

“I am really worried about children who will not be able to take part in sports because their parents cannot afford to take them elsewhere to play,” added Mr Dack.

“Sport is good for their health and it keeps them of the streets – it also helps them turn into better people.”

Mayor of Great Dunmow, Phil Milne, agreed with Mr Dack, and hopes to see more facilities in the future.

“We do need more,” he said. “The skate park is really well used and it would be encouraging to have more out there for clubs and groups. The problem is going to get worse in 20 years when there are more houses.”

Mr Dack presented his report at the Great Dunmow annual meeting last week. He wants the report included in the town’s neighbourhood plan to ensure the issue is kept firmly on the agenda as the town develops.

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