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Backing for sporting facility to boost Darlington's Olympic legacy
PLANS to create a £2m sports centre at a Darlington school have been approved after councillors said it was a crucial to the continuation of the town’s Olympic Games legacy.
Longfield Academy of Sport, in Longfield Road, had applied to Darlington Borough Council to erect a new sports hall with fitness suite, and five floodlit tennis courts.
The facilities, which will be available to students and the public, have already received support from Durham County Cricket Club, Sport England and the Lawn Tennis Association, and councillors yesterday backed the plans despite residents’ fears over increased noise and light pollution.
Councillor Alan Macnab, ward member for North Road, is a governor at Longfield Academy, and said the sports hall was an absolute necessity to nurture future sporting stars.
He said: “Longfield takes pupils from the north of Darlington and the young people cannot wait for these facilities.
“We have a duty to continue the legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and provide a sports centre for young people so they can reach their full potential.
“It is extremely necessary to have first-class facilities like this.”
Councillor Charles Johnson put forward a motion to add a business plan into the proposals to counter anti-social behaviour and foul language from youngsters using the site, which was rejected.
However, Coun Gerald Lee said: “We need to manage the exuberance and vitality of the young people and make sure they do not offend people when they leave.”
The meeting also heard concerns over the impact of the tennis court floodlights on nearby residents’ homes.
However, Dean Woodward, speaking on behalf of the school, said the lights were crucial in allowing youngsters to build on their sporting ability.
He said: “This a real opportunity to create a sporting legacy in Darlington and improve the school’s facilities.
“Andy Murray has just won the US Open and you do not become a champion by playing tennis for two weeks every summer.
“You need to play day and night, and that is where the floodlights come in.”