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Plans to lease Norman Park track to local athletics club 'could secure its future'

PUBLISHED: 14:14 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:12 31 January 2017

Norman Park

Norman Park

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Bromley Council could save £37.5k every year under the proposals

BBHAC head of active athletics Tim SoutarBBHAC head of active athletics Tim Soutar

Plans to lease Norman Park Athletics Track to a local sports club could help to secure its future and create “greatly enhanced” facilities for residents.

Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletics Club (BBHAC) has been involved in long-running discussions with the council to acquire the track, which a spokesperson described as “integral to our future”.

The plans come with an up-front price tag of £260,000 in maintenance work for the council - but are expected to save it £37,500 per annum under the terms of the 125-year lease.

And residents stand to benefit from new facilities at the ground, with plans for an improved track, a new pavilion, an indoor track, fitness rooms, a cafe and bar, and community areas.

The costs of the project could be substantially reduced if the council secures a capital project grant of £150,000 from the London Marathon Fund, which requires BBHAC to encourage inactive people to become involved in physical activity.

The club says its planned improvements will build on the work it already undertakes to support inactive people and encourage youngsters to develop their potential.

Tim Soutar, head of active athletics at BBHAC, said: “We are one of the oldest and most successful athletics clubs in the country and Norman Park is integral to our future. We are in conversations with the council over how best we can secure that future.

“If we are able to proceed with the ideas we have it would be with a view to creating a greatly enhanced facility at Norman Park.

“It is not a huge development, but will see a significant increase in opportunities for fitness and recreation at the track.

“The intention is to ensure it has a sustainable future which will benefit the club, borough and wider community.”

Councillor Peter Morgan, executive councillor for renewal and recreation, said: “This could be very good news for athletics in Bromley and indeed, as Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletic Club’s have a national reputation and are one of the oldest clubs in the country, it is welcome news nationally too.

“We will continue working with the Club and welcome their proposed investment which could secure the long term future of athletics here and offer savings for the Council amidst the much publicised financial constraints within which we are working.”

The plans are to be discussed at a meeting of the renewal and recreation policy development and scrutiny committee on Wednesday, February 8.

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