Randomly selected Exmouth residents will get the chance to vote on how £300,000 should be spent on sports facilities in the town.
The funds – Section 106 money from developers- have been collected by East Devon District Council from housing developments in the parish and since 2008 the council has a clear policy of ensuring that residents and town and parish councils choose how the money is spent.
East Devon District Council has £300,000 to spend on creating new sports facilities in Exmouth or improving ones that already exist, and 5,000 randomly selected Exmouth households will receive a letter in the post giving them a unique online code.
They can use this code to go online and vote for their households favourite projects.
There are seven eligible, affordable, possible projects for people who receive a letter to choose from, and the result of the survey will inform which projects get given the cash.
Cllr Paul Millar, East Devon’s portfolio holder for democracy and transparency (including consultation) said: “Rather than wait until physical voting can take place again, I am delighted that with the support of council staff, a way of having the Exmouth community voting remotely has been identified and created.
“With £300,000 of developer contributions to distribute, these are significant projects, the completion of which will support exercise opportunities and wellbeing across the town.
“As the Council plan for a future post-COVID, the quality of Council-owned outdoor spaces have never been more important. I urge everybody who receive a letter take the time to read through the project proposals and vote on which projects will ultimately get the go ahead.”
THE SEVEN PROJECTS
- Exmouth Community College – Resurfacing the large sand astro pitch at Exmouth Community College which is at the end of its life. It’s used community groups in the evenings, as well as being used by the college throughout the week. It’s used for sports including football, hockey, rounders, soft ball, American football, handball, tag rugby, athletics and cricket. Asking for: £150,000.
- Exmouth Rugby Club – A new drainage system at Exmouth Rugby Club for the two pitches and grass area next to Marine Way, allowing them to be able to be used more often. Matches and training are often called off because of waterlogged pitches. Asking for: £210,000.
- Phear Park Skate Park – Expanding the current concrete skate park in Phear Park, which is free to use. This is used by skateboarders, scooters and BMX riders. Asking for: £240,000.
- Brixington Park – Adding new sports related equipment into Brixington Park, all free to use, including one end of a tarmacked games area with one goal for sports such as football and basketball and side panels for target practise, outdoor gym equipment, improvements to the informal pitch in the middle of the park, including some drainage improvements, some levelling and new football goals, graphics on part of a widened footpath for children to practice cycling, and improved and extended footpaths and seating. Asking for: £150,000
- Withycombe Raleigh Common Football Pitches – additional car parking area at Withycombe Raleigh Common Football Pitches, home of the Brixington Blues and used by other clubs and teams. This would increase the usability of the pitches and make the parking safer. Asking for: £40,000.
- Phear Park – A back stretch / back exercise wall in Phear Park with exercises listed along its length, this would be free to use. This would help people of all ages to straighten and strengthen their backs and necks. Asking for: £5,000.
- Carter Avenue Park – A free to use concrete track with bumps and small slopes for wheeled sports such as BMX, skate boards and scooters in Carter Avenue Park. This would be free to use. Asking for: £60,000.
Letters will be arriving with the 5,000 randomly selected households in the week beginning August 31, 2020, with a council spokesman saying that if certain age groups or locations are significantly under-represented within the voting, then additional measures may have to be taken to make sure the demographics adequately represent the population of Exmouth.
Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon’s portfolio holder for Coast, Country and Environment, added: “I would urge everyone that gets a letter to please take the time to vote, they really can make a difference. This is a fantastic amount of money to spend in Exmouth on some much needed sports improvements. We would usually do the voting face to face at large events, but in these current difficult times that isn’t possible and isn’t likely to be possible for some time to come.
“This way of doing an online vote ensures that only people that live in Exmouth can vote, and that people can’t vote multiple times. This means the vote is more meaningful and representative.”
Cllr Nick Hookway, a Littleham ward member for the district council, added: “I am happy to lend my support to this excellent initiative to replace and upgrade essential sporting facilities within Exmouth.”