PLANS to upgrade the athletics track facilities at Down Grange Sports Complex are set to get under way next month.

Much-needed refurbishment work to resurface Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s eight-lane track will begin on April 4 and is expected to take approximately 10 weeks to complete.

The track will be closed for the duration of the work.

The £280,000 track refurbishment work is being funded by the borough council and includes re-surfacing the athletics arena, installing a finish line viewing gallery and timekeepers’ stand.

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It marks the start of the first phase of plans to enhance the athletics facilities at the sports complex in Pack Lane, Kempshott.

A second phase of the project which includes a spectator stand and perimeter fencing, funded by the council’s capital programme and section 106 developers’ contributions, is subject to securing planning permission. If this is approved, it is hoped work could start later on this year.

The council is also working with Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletics Club to install a new clubhouse which will be funded by the athletics club, subject to planning approval.

The improvements form part of a wider project to enhance the sports facilities at Down Grange Sports Complex to meet the needs of the sports clubs based there and other users of the popular facilities.

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Cllr Rebecca Bean, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and leisure, said: “The council has a commitment to provide residents with outstanding leisure and sports facilities which will assist in improving the health and mental wellbeing of our residents. We have been working with the sports clubs who use our facilities at Down Grange Sports Complex to help meet their aspirations to improve and expand them to meet growing membership numbers and enable them to compete at the highest level. We have already worked with Basingstoke Hockey Club to support the growth of their club by building a second artificial pitch and provided Local Infrastructure Funding to Basingstoke Rugby Club to extend their changing facilities to meet national governing body regulations.

“The athletics track is used by Basingstoke and Mid Hants Athletics Club, schools in the borough, individuals and other running and sports clubs. It is a popular facility that is at the end of its life and in need of modernising. This project will make the track fit for purpose, adhere to UK Athletics and England Athletics’ regulations and enable the club to host high level athletics competitions, catering for our borough’s top athletes and attracting others further afield."

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