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Sports hall decision postponed

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

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A controversial decision, on whether a market town sports hall will be closed, has been postponed as campaigners vow to take the matter to the ombudsman.

Protesters claim Crediton will lose out on the momentum created by the Olympic legacy as its Lords Meadow sports hall is closed to make way for gym and dance hall facilities.

Their campaign has won support from Sport England, who have warned not to look at the financial implications alone, and queries the evidence of low use which Mid Devon District council has cited.

This week, the council decided it could not take a vote on whether to close the centre until after an October governors' meeting at Queen Elizabeth Academy school, which will determine whether its sports hall can be used to provide alternative facilities.

Meanwhile, members of the Crediton Sports Hall Campaign Group have vowed to take the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman.

The group's spokesman Keith Barker said: "It's obvious the council has no intention of deviating from the worrying path it started out on, so we think there's no point in continuing our correspondence with them – we will take the matter further."

The group has written to Culture Secretary Jeremy Clarke and Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Committee, and has asked Sport England to work with the council.

A Mid Devon District Council spokesman said: "At the moment, the centre is heavily subsidised by council taxpayers at a level which is not sustainable in the long term, given the ever-increasing pressure on our finances."

He said the council would continue to consult with users on the need for changes and the options open to it.

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