LETTER: Track will not be a white elephant

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In reply to Peter Grace (letter 27.02.14) regarding use of the running track at BBH.

Perhaps he should have done some research before criticising the local authority for proposing a replacement track. For his information the two main clubs using the facility, Horsham Blue Star Harriers and Horsham Joggers, each have over 250 active members.

Add to this the numbers in the Martlets junior athletics group, the mini athletes group, the Horsham Triathlete Club, Horsham Boxing Club, and other smaller groups and individuals, and the numbers using the BBH track can be of the order of 600-plus.

Add to this the various inter-club matches, school events (both primary and secondary) and individual bookings, the busiest of which can have over 300 competing athletes, and it can be seen that the usage of the track is massively more than he suggests - a usage that will only increase once the new houses under construction in West Horsham are completed.

The wording of his letter also suggests that the athletes use the facilities for free! No, they pay a fee for each session or have a season ticket which helps cover upkeep of the track.

The new track is a replacement for an existing facility the removal of which will liberate up to £10 million in development value.

Furthermore the moving of the track to Tanbridge School will make it accessible to the school on a daily basis so will increase usage at off-peak times.

If the life of the track is assumed at 25years (the length of time the current track has been in use) and the population of the district is 130,000 then the cost to each person in the Horsham district is less than 1p per week over that period, in my opinion a cost well worth paying for a first class sporting facility accessible to all.

His suggestion that the money would be better spent on a new car park is as inane as the rest of his letter. Since the car parks are seldom full now then building another one would not increase income at all.

MICK COLE

Coaching secretary, Horsham Blue Star Harriers, Chennells Way, Horsham