Another, rather different form of consultation – Owl
Becca Gliddon eastdevonnews.co.uk
Residents in Exmouth are being selected at random to vote on how £300,000 will be spent on boosting sport in the town.
East Devon District Council will post out 5,000 letters to homes in Exmouth, asking residents to vote for their favourite projects.
The £300,000 fund, collected by the council from house developers building in the area, will be used to create new sports facilities, or improve existing ones.
Last year EDDC canvased Exmouth residents and groups on how best to spend the Section-106 developer cash.
From next week selected residents will be asked to choose which of seven eligible projects, chosen by the council, should receive a cash boost.
They will receive a unique code to register their vote online.
Cllr Geoff Jung, EDDC portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said: “I would urge everyone that gets a letter to please take the time to vote, they really can make a difference.
“This is a fantastic amount of money to spend in Exmouth on some much-needed sports improvements.
“We would usually do the voting face-to-face at large events, but in these current difficult times that isn’t possible and isn’t likely to be possible for some time to come.
“This way of doing an online vote ensures that only people that live in Exmouth can vote, and that people can’t vote multiple times.
“This means the vote is more meaningful and representative.”
The seven projects residents will be asked to consider are:
- £150,000 to resurface the large sand-astro pitch at Exmouth Community College, which is at the end of its life. The pitch is used by community groups in the evenings, and college students in the week.
- £210,000 for a new drainage system at Exmouth Rugby Club for the two pitches and grass area next to Marine Way. Currently matches and training are often called off because of waterlogged pitches.
- £240,000 to expand the current free-to-use Phear Park concrete skate park, used by skateboarders, scooters and BMX riders.
- £150,000 for new sports equipment at Brixington park, all free to use; a games area with goal, an outdoor gym, pitch improvements – drainage, levelling and new football goals; a marked cycle area, extended and improved footpaths and seating.
- £40,000 for additional, safer, car parking at Withycombe Raleigh Common Football Pitches, home of the Brixington Blues and used by other clubs.
- £5,000 for a free-to-use back and neck stretch and exercise wall in Phear Park, with instructions.
- £60,000 for a free-to-use concrete humped and sloped track in Carter Avenue Park for BMX, skate boards and scooters.
Letters will be arriving at the 5,000 randomly-selected Exmouth homes in the week beginning August 31.
EDDC said extra measures would be taken if certain age groups or locations were deemed ‘significantly under-represented’ in the vote.
Cllr Paul Millar, EDDC portfolio holder for democracy and transparency, said: “Rather than wait until physical voting can take place again, I am delighted that with the support of council staff, a way of having the Exmouth community voting remotely has been identified and created.
“With £300,000 of developer contributions to distribute, these are significant projects, the completion of which will support exercise opportunities and wellbeing across the town.”
He added: “As the council plan for a future post-Covid, the quality of council-owned outdoor spaces has never been more important.
“I urge everybody who receives a letter, to take the time to read through the project proposals and vote on which projects will ultimately get the go ahead.”