Crowborough Town Council has agreed to upgrade their cinder running track at Goldsmiths Recreation Ground in Crowborough.
Built in 1981 it is thought to be the last cinder running track laid in the UK. In 2010 the track was considered to be past it’s ‘sell-by-date’. The local running club, Crowborough Runners, have been campaigning for many years to get the track repaired and upgraded. Two years ago, James Welbury, the Club’s Development Officer spoke to councillors about their ambitions for a modern surface and various funding options. After the elections in May 2015, Crowborough Town Council established a working group to look into the project.
Before Christmas, Councillors on the Sport Recreation and Cemetery (SRC) Committee discussed a report from the Council’s temporary Project Manager setting-out the options of providing two or four 400m lanes in synthetic rubber. The report also included estimates for providing additional lanes on the home straight, the cost of lane marking as well as the option of using more expensive coloured rubber surface. By using the existing cinder track as a base for the new surface, the amount of groundwork required for a two lane track would be minimal as the cinder track would just need patching with additional hardcore in places. Given the proximity of other running tracks in the regional the report stated that there was little chance of getting a grant from Sport England.
At the meeting on 6th December, Crowborough Runners expressed a preference for three lanes, rather than additional lanes for sprinting, but said how they would welcome lighting along the track. A representative said as a small club of around 80 members, they could only offer a contribution of between £3-5,000 to the project.
There are netball and a basketball courts located inside the perimeter of the running track at Goldsmiths. At the same meeting Sibylla Woods from Crowborough Netball was asked about the state of repair and the amount of use that is made of the two courts. She said the tarmac surface is starting to deteriorate and the courts flood as they are not level. Councillors agreed that there might be cost savings by getting companies to carry-out the resurface work on the running track and the courts at the same time.
It was minuted that £120,000 had been allocated in next year’s Business Plan for the upgrade of the running track. Most of the money is already available in Council’s reserves, but £20,000 would have to be raised from next year’s Council Tax and Crowborough Runners will be asked to contribute £5,000 to the project.
Councillors also agreed that £30,000 should be put in the SRC Committee budget for resurfacing of the basketball and netball courts. To maximise use, it was agreed the courts should be line-marked for multi-sports and adjustable basketball boards and netball hoops should be fitted.
Cllr Kay Moss, Chairman of the Sport Recreation and Cemetery Committee, said:
Following the recent SRC meeting the council are tendering various options for a running track facility at Goldsmiths. I hope that we will be able to provide the town with a facility which will be available for all to use and to encourage fitness and athletics among Crowborough residents.
The Council will now proceed with a formal tendering process, as the expenditure for the project will be above the threshold of £60,000 in the Council’s financial regulations. The tender documents will ask questions about the lifespan of the new surface and likely maintenance costs. The financial plans are subject to agreement by Full Council when they agree next year’s budget and the precept for 2017-18. Councillor hope the work would start in late Spring 2017.