THE Newark Sports Association (NSA) is a Charitable Community Benefits Society and was established to promote and support the development of sports facilities for the benefit of the local community.

The NSA is concerned that the proposed sale of the Lilley and Stone School site could potentially mean the loss of local sports facilities.

We must turn that loss into an improvement and to the advantage of the community.

Newark Town Bowls Club is land-locked and access to the club and parking is over Lilley and Stone land.

Similarly, access to Newark Tennis Club is across the Lilley and Stone site so the sale has implications for the tennis club.

The loss of a traffic-free environment for cycle coaching for juniors at Newark Castle Cycling Club, the artificial grass pitch, the hard-play, the sports field, the gyms and an excellent sports hall must be compensated for and their benefit maintained.

The Lilley and Stone is an educational charity so the refurbishment of the pitch at Magnus Academy to establish the site as a centre for hockey and the improvement of sports facilities at the Newark Academy and the new Orchard Special School would seem to fit within the objects of the charity.

Also, it would be wasteful to demolish what is perhaps the best sports hall in Newark when it would make an ideal indoor cricket centre, something that has been identified in the Facilities Improvement Plan and the local Playing Pitch Strategy.

Sport England’s recently strengthened Planning Policy Guidance will help protect facilities, but clubs and the community must be proactive.

As always, the NSA will be working hard with sports clubs and associations and partners and stakeholders to make sure that local sports facilities are not only maintained but improved for the benefit of the community and, in particular, the young people who attend our local schools. — Tony Colton, chairman of Newark Sports Association.