Sports enthusiasts from all avenues met together at Testbourne Theatre to hear plans and ideas for the future.

Hilary Jackson opens the meeting.

In her opening introduction Testbourne Community School’s headteacher Hilary Jackson said:

“We know where we’re coming from, we know sorts of things we like to achieve, but what does the town want? And what do the people want?”

Those assembled then heard what was available at the School from Community Manager Paul Bushell and at the Longmeadow Sports and Social Club from Trustee Steve Smith. Each also raised the various problems they were experiencing from ageing premises to lack of useage.

Sports and Social Club and Testbourne are close neighbours.

Meanwhile Steve Welch, Health and Wellbeing Team Leader from Basingstoke and Deane, set out the structure of sports provision in the Borough.
All presented a case for upgrading facilities from the swimming pool and gymnasium to football and cricket pitches, especially for youth teams.

Issues are wider
While the opening focus was on developing the School and Longmeadow Sports & Social Club provision, many present thought the issues were wider and that the whole town should have buy-in to any new facilities. Whitchurch Town Councillor Dave Titcomb suggested that the Community Town Plan was a way to involve the wider town’s needs and interests.

Steve Welch explained:
“We’re in a much better position to get grant money if we work together” … “Particularly to the west of the Borough…for certain facilities and certain sports there is a deficit towards the west and that is something that we need to look at.”

Hilary Jackson suggested that a working group of interested parties in moving any ideas forward be formed and names were taken.

Housing and Open Space
While the meeting was primarily aimed at determining what sports facilities the town might require, several people had attended to discuss location of housing on the sports grounds and possible relocation of existing recreation provision.

Cllr Keith Watts explained that the draft ideas that had been announced prior to the recent election were in their very early stages and that everyone’s views would be welcome.
The positive announcement that a local meeting on this was being arranged was warmly welcomed.

The meeting on housing has now been set for 7th June.

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