Tews Lane project gets the go-ahead

Joseph Bulmer

SIR - At last there’s great news for the users of Tews Lane Sports Field at Bickington. Last week, we received permission to go ahead with a shelter at Tews Lane.

This is for all the sports groups that use the field every day and every evening during daylight hours.

As well as football, there are archer groups that meet three evenings, there is a dog training group, kite flying, motorcycle training, groups using the cricket nets, youngsters using the skate ramp, dog walkers and families just enjoying the public open space. When it rains, there is nowhere to shelter.

Youth football teams from Barnstaple Youth who do not hire the changing rooms need somewhere to shelter and to store their kit and equipment.

At our last liaison meeting with the Football Foundation, they stated how necessary a shelter had become. More children would use the facility with their parents having a shelter to watch them.

The extension will be constructed on the front of the existing changing rooms and of the same materials.

There will be an overhang at the front so that even when the shelter is closed, people will still have somewhere to stand out of the rain.

A disabled toilet is included in the planning which will have a side entrance next to the disabled parking bay. It will be opened with a radar key. Sports groups can arrange to access the toilet which will be an asset for the many youth football teams that play games and train right through the year. Barnstaple Youth football teams have been requesting this all season.

The shelter was first requested by local people who attended the open day in 2009.

The tug o’ war teams were just about to take the strain when the skies opened. Young families with children in pushchairs were soaked and they asked for something to be built for the everyday users of Tews Lane.

It has taken over a year, but now that we have the go-ahead, I will try to have it in place by the time we have the next open day in June.

Objectors have suggested that a shelter will attract vandals - what a shame. Youths have met on the field playing football, cricket and using the skate ramp since 2007 and the local police only comment about how well behaved they are and that Tews Lane Field offers a meeting place that is suitable and safe.

So let’s celebrate the good news. The district council has supported Roundswell by providing the funds. We have come this far thanks to the hard work of the Tews Lane Sports and Recreation Committee and we will continue to provide opportunities for physical activities for the local people.

Next, we hope to attract cricket teams - and eventually a pavilion!

Carol McCormack (Cllr),

Chairman, Tews Lane

Sports Field Committee