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£2m athletics complex for college

DEESIDE College will be the site for an indoor athletics facility costing almost £2m.

DEESIDE College will be the site for an indoor athletics facility costing almost £2m.

The college was chosen after presenting its case to the Sportslot National Panel at a meeting near Bala on Friday.

Earlier this year The Chronicle exclusively revealed the college was to make a bid for the project ­ and in a head-to-head battle with a rival bid from Wrexham, it came out on top.

College staff were thrilled with the outcome which should see work starting on the facility next year.

'We're delighted and confident that we can deliver an excellent scheme that all participants in sport can be proud of,' said vice-principal Neil Crawford.

The £1.8m project looks likely to include six 82m running lanes, runways for long and triple jumps, pole vaulting and high-jump areas, and throwing areas for discus and shot.

The decision to site the facility at Deeside is a massive boost to the campus and gives it enormous regional and national significance.

'It's a very important development and it reinforces the Deeside centre as a major venue in Wales, not just North Wales,' added Mr Crawford.

The facility should attract athletes from across the region and will also benefit the local community through dedicated programmes to get the most out of what the centre will be able to offer.

Chief executive of the Sports Council for Wales, Dr Huw Jones, said: 'This will be a tremendous boost for athletics in North Wales and will help Wales produce more world-class track and field athletes than ever before ­ hand-in-hand with the Athletics Association of Wales and the successful Elite Cymru programme for talented individuals.'

Lottery funding of £1.5m is expected to be available to back the project, making it one of the biggest single lottery investments in the area.

Building on the already impressive infrastructure at the college ­ which was unlikely to be matched by starting afresh on a greenfield site ­ the facility gives the campus another dimension.

And the announcement could have a positive spin-off for an athlete already in training at the college.

Hammer thrower Lesley Brannan, of Connah's Quay, has appealed for practice facilities after being told she couldn't use the existing throwing cage to avoid damaging the pitch at the stadium.

But Mr Crawford was confident something could now be sorted out for Lesley to help her bid to win Commonwealth Games selection.

'I've given Lesley an assurance that in the short-term the college will be takin immediate steps to ensure that she can continue to practice, and discussed with her that part of this project is to provide appropriate practice facilities for throwing disciplines.'

The college was congratulated on securing the project by AM Tom Middlehurst who said: 'Deeside College is already a centre of excellence and this new athletics facility is yet another feather in the cap of the college.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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