Tilsley Park Developments
The athletics track at Tilsley Park is shut this Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July to allow equipment/plant machinery to arrive on site. For those who did not already know, plans have recently been passed for the installation of a 3G football/rugby pitch in the centre of the athletics track. The existing infield throwing cage is going to be moved to replace the outfield throwing cage with a new javelin runway laid also in the outside area (view the plans here).
This is going to have a strong negative impact on our sport (athletics) for all who use this facility with the main impacts being:
There are no floodlights in the outer area so throwing groups will be unable to train during usual training hours for the autumn/winter/spring months. Nor will the venue be able to hold competitions in the evening (allegedly floodlights cannot be erected due to close proximity to housing);
field facilities are going to be halved (2 javelin runways to 1, 2 throws cages to 1) and in practice will be reduced to a quarter as the new area can only accommodate either hammer, discus or javelin but not simultaneously due to the shared space (significant safety concerns also arise due to this positioning);
the outside grassed area is unsuitable for UKA accreditation as it is sloped, has drainage problems and has significant (6 inch wide) cracks in the summer making it unsafe for use;
the reduced athletics facilities will make the venue unable to hold high level meetings;
athletes will not be able to use the track when the inner pitch is being used. It is inevitable that athletes are going to lose training and competition time, but how much? We have been informed that the pitches are likely to be hired every evening and most weekends by local football/rugby clubs.
What can I do?
Since this was only announced after the planning permission was granted, you do not have much time.
If you are not happy with these upcoming developments the recommendation is that you make a formal complaint to the planners at the Vale council first (01235 520202) and then the planning ombudsman here (0300 0610614).
The club is submitting its own complaint.
It is very sad that a premier athletics venue, used by athletes from all over the country, is going to be destroyed (in the sense that it will no longer be a premier competition or training venue for athletics).