Thursday, 24 June 2021

Hundreds respond to survey on new recreation ground

A TOTAL of 668 residents of Sonning Common responded to a survey about what sports and types of equipment they want to see at the village’s new recreation ground.

The responses — 410 made online and 258 written — will be analysed by specialists who will produce a report on their findings.

Deputy parish clerk Ros Varnes said: “We are delighted with this response and very grateful to all the people who took the time to complete our survey.

“The responses will be invaluable in helping us to shape this project as we go forward and will inform our decision-making.”

The results of the online survey show that the most popular choices were an outdoor gym, football, parkour and netball. The top priorities for teenagers were basketball and a climbing wall.

Tennis and organised fitness classes were also mentioned along with a BMX track, bowls, frisbee, golf, table tennis and even mud wrestling.

Almost every respondent mentioned the need for toilets, 86 per cent suggested picnic benches and 81 per cent mentioned the use of lighting around the perimeter.

When it came to the use of Kidmore End War Memorial Hall in front of the field, off Reades Lane, 74 per cent of respondents suggested fitness classes, 66 per cent social clubs and 62 per cent badminton.

The survey also asked people’s view of naming the field “Memorial Park”. Sixty-five per cent were in favour, 21 per cent replied “maybe” and 14 per cent said “no”.

Mrs Varnes said: “I am so delighted we have this information. As we move forward, we’re looking at having conversations with different age groups.

“It’s very important to ensure there’s something for all ages at the park.

“I also got a strong sense that people also want to just go down and watch the world go by and see other people enjoying the site.”

Groundworks at the facility began last month and could take up to 14 weeks.

The project is being carried out by Blakedown Sport & Play, of Banbury, and managed by Aurora Construction Consultancy, of London. This marks four years of planning by a council working group after the land was sold by the Pelly family, which owned it, and developer Linden Homes for a nominal fee of £1 in return for supporting an application for 50 new homes which have since been built on the adjacent field known as Sonning Grove.

The cost of the groundworks is £519,000 with additional costs for equipment and amenities yet to be decided.

South Oxfordshire District Council approved £267,670 on developer contributions to go towards the work, access works and fencing.

The full results of the survey will be discussed at the next meeting of the parish council on June 21.

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