Front row of photo from left to right: holding left end of ribbon Chris Bigmore Project Co-ordinator; next to him with scissors John Thatcher Devon Regional President of the English Petanque Association; Cllr Peter Halse Mayor of Honiton; Cllr John O'Leary EDDC Councillor for Honiton: holding right end of ribbon Cllr Iain Chubb EDDC portfolio holder for Environment; Cllr Phil Twiss EDDC Councillor for Honiton.

Honiton’s new £14,400 petanque playing area is now open and ready for action

East Devon District Council has been working hard with Honiton Town Council and local resident Chris Bigmore on a project that has ended up providing residents with a new petanque 'terrain' or playing area. Petanque is a game where players throw metal ‘boules’ with the aim of getting as many of their own closer to the wooden Jack than their opponents.

The Petanque terrain at the Mountbatten Sports and Social Club was officially opened on 19 March by the Devon Regional President of the English Petanque Association, John Thatcher. Several residents who were already playing Petanque elsewhere or were interested in taking up the sport were also invited along to 'baptise' the new playing area.  Having a petanque playing area in Honiton was proposed by the local community.

Last year Honiton Town Council and EDDC asked community groups and others to put forward their ideas as to how £50,000 of sports funding accumulated from recent Honiton housing developments (Section 106 money) should be spent, Chris Bigmore put forward the idea of a petanque playing area.

Ten proposals were submitted but only three were eligible, affordable and possible. The three proposals added up to under £50,000 so they could all be funded. One was for the petanque playing area, one was for a sports wall in Allhallows Field, which is still being progressed and the final project was for safety barriers around one of the rugby pitches, which has now been completed.

John Thatcher said:

I am very pleased to have been invited to open this new Terrain at Honiton, Petanque is now growing very fast in the UK. It’s an inexpensive game to participate in and can be played socially or more seriously at regional, national and international levels

Chris Bigmore, Project Co-ordinator said:

We will be having an open day in early May where anyone can come along and have a go at Petanque. It’s a game of skill and tactics, which can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities and does not require great body strength. We will be setting up a Honiton Petanque Club with regular weekly sessions, and with the fantastic standard of our playing area we will be able to compete with other local clubs.

Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

There are people in Honiton who play petanque who have had to travel many miles to be able to play, it is great that we have been able to help provide this new facility on their doorstep. Well done to Chris for putting forward the initial idea and then making this project happen.

Councillor Peter Halse, Mayor of Honiton Town Council, said:

The Town Council were pleased to assist Chris in delivering a petanque pitch right here in Honiton. Some of these dedicated players were travelling many miles in order to be able to play so to have something on their doorstep will really help and hopefully encourage more to join.