South Oxfordshire District Council has agreed to allocate £607,670 to improve sports and community spaces in Thame and Sonning Common.
The council will give £340,000 to Thame Town Council and £267,670 to Sonning Common Parish Council using contributions that developers have paid as part of their agreements to build new homes in both locations.
Thame Town Council will use the funds towards their project to build a 3G artificial full-size floodlit football pitch, complete with pitch markings for training and various match games, including mini soccer at Meadow View Park.
The town council and Thame Football Partnership have already secured up to £365,657 and work on the improvements is nearly completed. Now the Section 106 (S106) funding has been approved, it will provide the remaining money they need to finish their impressive investment for football and sports provision for residents living in and around the town.
Cllr Ann Midwinter, Town Mayor at Thame Town Council, said: “Thame Town Council and Thame Football Partnership are delighted that South Oxfordshire District Council have approved £340,000 in S106 funding towards the creation of a new full size 3G Artificial Pitch at Thame Football Club. The securing of this significant funding will ensure this state-of-the-art facility can be delivered for the community of Thame and the wider South Oxfordshire district. Thame Town Council and Thame Football Partnership thank the District Council for their support on this community project.”
The Council also approved £267,670 to go to Sonning Common Parish Council for ground levelling, access works and fencing around Memorial Hall Field in the village.
The S106 funding will pay for a much-needed communal space for residents – something that was identified as lacking in the village’s adopted Neighbourhood Plan. Levelling the field area will make way for new playing spaces, a wide footpath around the site and a multi-use games area. Work to enhance the landscape will enable families to use it all year round and provide a new space for village events.
Diana Pearman, Chair of the Memorial Field Working Group, said: “Historically our village has not had its own park or common area, so when we were gifted this space by a developer, who provided the funds, we set about meeting our vision to create a facility, which encourages healthy activities, sport and other opportunities for community engagement for all age groups. This funding will enable us to create a site and venue which attracts much active participation.”
Cllr Robin Bennett, Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “The town and parish councils put forward carefully considered plans and ideas, and worked closely with our team on ways in which developer contributions could help to pay for them. Now the funds have been approved, these exciting new sports and recreation facilities will help our Thame and Sonning Common residents to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, something we are very keen to support.”
The Thame and Sonning Common Section 106 funding was approved at the online Council meeting on Thursday 25 March.