Starting gun fires for athletics track refurbishment

November 28 2017

WORK can start on replacing athletics facilities at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC) after £470,000 was awarded to the project.

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WORK can start on replacing athletics facilities at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC) after £470,000 was awarded to the project.

The money has come from agreements linked to planning consents that oblige developers to make financial contributions to local facilities.

The sum brings to £800,000 the amount raised for the refurbishment, just £50,000 short of the estimates.

Yate Town Council said the scheme had now reached a key stage in a funding campaign.

Project chairwoman, town councillor Chris Willmore, said the athletics facilities at YOSC were used by local schools and hundreds of local young people each week, with the complex also hosting national events.

She said: “For some events it is the best facility in the country but it is at the end of its life and needs completely replacing. It was in a sad state after years of neglect.”

Councillor Willmore said the council was horrified at the £850,000 estimate for the work but it spent six months “working flat out” to raise the cash.

Sport England gave its backing to the scheme, the developers’ money is now allocated and a sponsors event was held recently to which local firms were invited.

Ms Willmore said: “The project won’t just replace what is there. It will add facilities, including making much better provision for para-athletics.

“This is the biggest single project Yate Town Council has ever undertaken. We’re all excited, but nervous.”

YOSC’s future was in doubt two years ago after spending cuts had threatened the facility, which has a floodlit athletics arena used for track and field events, football pitches, a cricket field and nets, as well as courts for tennis and netball. There is also an all-weather hockey pitch, changing rooms and a clubhouse with bar.

Under a long-running arrangement, the next door Brimsham Green School made use of YOSC during school hours, while clubs and other users had access at other times. 

The Circadian Trust, which runs South Gloucestershire Council’s leisure centres, used to manage the YOSC facilities outside school hours until 2015, when the council decided not to renew that contract in order to save money, raising fears for the future of the complex.

However, negotiations lasting more than a year resulted in a new charitable organisation being set up and the site is now run by YOSC Ltd, which was established by the town council and Yate and District Athletic Club.