Exmouth residents who received a letter asking them to vote to decide how to spend £300,000 on sports in the town are being reminded to vote before time runs out. Residents get to decide how the money is spent, so they really can make a big difference!
5,000 randomly selected Exmouth households received a letter from East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council in the post at the beginning of September giving them a unique online code. They can use this code to go online and vote for their households favourite projects to create new or improve current sports facilities in the town.
So far 870 households have voted for their favourite projects, but the councils are urging as many households as possible to take part in this important exercise.
The councils are particularly asking people under the age of 39 to take part, and especially under 18 year olds. These age groups are currently under-represented in the voting. Whole households can fill in a joint form, so any younger members of the household can be included in that, or can fill in the form themselves.
If you received a letter and have mislaid it or recycled it and want to vote, please email email@example.com with your postal address, or call 01395 517569 for a reminder of your unique code, which you’ll need to use to vote.
The funds – Section 106 money - have been collected by the district council from housing developments in the parish, since 2008 they’ve had a clear policy of ensuring that residents and town and parish councils choose how the money is spent.
Last year East Devon District Council and Exmouth Town Council asked Exmouth’s residents, voluntary groups and other organisations to give them their ideas on how to spend the funding. Since then the councils have been working together with the people that proposed the projects to find out which of those proposals were eligible, affordable and can actually happen.
There are 7 eligible, affordable, possible projects for people that receive a letter to choose from:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Adding new sports related equipment into Brixington park, all free to use:
o One end of a tarmacked games area with one goal for sports such as football and basketball and side panels for target practise.
o Outdoor gym equipment.
o Improvements to the informal pitch in the middle of the park, including some drainage improvements, some levelling and new football goals.
o Graphics on part of a widened footpath for children to practice cycling.
o Improved and extended footpaths and seating.
Asking for: £150,000
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
The closing date for voting is Monday 19 October 2020 at 5pm. If certain age groups or locations are significantly under-represented within the voting, additional measures may have to be taken to make sure the demographics adequately represent the population of Exmouth.
Chairman of Exmouth Town Council and East Devon District Council Ward Member for Exmouth Withycombe Raleigh, Councillor Steve Gazzard said: “Sports clubs and facilities are the lifeblood of Exmouth, bringing our community together and helping people of all ages develop. Each of the 7 worthy projects that made the shortlist for possible funding share the common attribute of delivering new or improved sports facilities in Exmouth and I would really like to encourage anyone who has received a letter, but not yet voted, to go online and use their vote. It will take only take a few minutes and your vote will mean so much.”
East Devon District Councillor Geoff Jung, portfolio holder for Coast, Country and Environment and East Devon District Councillor Paul Millar, portfolio holder for Democracy and Transparency said: "We plead with residents who have received this letter to take a look at these sport projects and cast your votes on which you feel will most benefit the town. As a Council, we want to make sure the £300,000 funding is awarded to the projects which are to the most public benefit."