Council leader backs plans for new running track in Darwen

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council has backed plans to bring an athletics facility to Darwen.

Coun Kate Hollern said the borough council would do ‘all it could’ to help set up what would effectively be a running teack and an area for field events, at Blacksnape playing fields.

It comes after the town’s MP Jake Berry held a meeting with the man who came up with the idea, former town council deputy chairman Steve Duncan, the council’s chief executive Harry Catherall, and athletes from Darwen Dashers running club.

Mr Berry said the chief executive had responded positively to the idea and had said the council would look into it.

Coun Kate Hollern said it was a good idea.

She said: “I would fully support anything that brings new sports facilities into the borough.

“In the current economic climate we are really keen to help others help the borough.

“It would be great if we could bring this facility to Darwen and the council will do all it can to help the people involved.”

Mr Duncan originally proposed the idea last August, saying a facility was needed in the town so Darreners didn’t have to travel to Witton Park.MP Jake Berry said it was early days but there had been positive talks.

He said: “Mr Catherall said the council would hold discussions to see whether an athletics facility is possible.

“We need to see if the local schools would use it for sports days.

“I hope it is something everyone can get behind but, obviously, we need to work out the costs.

“We want to ensure Darwen gets its Olympic legacy.”

Mr Duncan said grant funding was available to cover the majority of costs.

He said: “I look at it like Newrad Fisheries in Watery Lane, which I was involved with.

“We got a Lottery grant and then money started pouring in from all over, and I think that will happen with the athletics facility.

“The infrastructure is already there as it is flat and and the changing rooms are already there.

“The only council money needed should be for an initial feasibilty study.

“My ambition in life is to see a gold postbox in Darwen when a local person wins in the Olympics.”

Comments (17)

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4:09pm Tue 26 Feb 13

happycyclist says...

Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of.
Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of. happycyclist
  • Score: 4

4:38pm Tue 26 Feb 13

ste.g says...

happycyclist wrote:
Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of.
couldnt agree more.
hollern is a pratt and needs to stop squandering tax payers money
[quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of.[/p][/quote]couldnt agree more. hollern is a pratt and needs to stop squandering tax payers money ste.g
  • Score: 4

4:46pm Tue 26 Feb 13

bril67 says...

never mind running track mend the roads .
never mind running track mend the roads . bril67
  • Score: 5

11:08pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Councillor Duncan says...

(former councillor) obviuosly the 4 people who have commented have reading difficulties as this project does not require local council funding but hopefully will be supported by national Lottery and Sports funding grants. It should actually save local funding as it would be available to local schools in both Darwen and Hoddlesden and surrounding areas. And unless you have a car it is 2 bus routes and at least half an hour each way if you live on the Bolton side of Darwen town centre. The sports field already exists as do changing rooms and shower facilities - let's give the children of Darwen and the surrounding area an athletics facility that does not exist at present.
Just imagine if all the bowling clubs, fishing clubs, football clubs etc were to be told all the facilities in Darwen were being withdrawn as facilities existed in Blackburn - there would be an uproar - why should Darreners have to go all the way to Witton Park for a running track!
(former councillor) obviuosly the 4 people who have commented have reading difficulties as this project does not require local council funding but hopefully will be supported by national Lottery and Sports funding grants. It should actually save local funding as it would be available to local schools in both Darwen and Hoddlesden and surrounding areas. And unless you have a car it is 2 bus routes and at least half an hour each way if you live on the Bolton side of Darwen town centre. The sports field already exists as do changing rooms and shower facilities - let's give the children of Darwen and the surrounding area an athletics facility that does not exist at present. Just imagine if all the bowling clubs, fishing clubs, football clubs etc were to be told all the facilities in Darwen were being withdrawn as facilities existed in Blackburn - there would be an uproar - why should Darreners have to go all the way to Witton Park for a running track! Councillor Duncan
  • Score: 1

11:13pm Tue 26 Feb 13

Darwen Malc says...

Well said, Counc Duncan!
Well said, Counc Duncan! Darwen Malc
  • Score: -1

11:38pm Tue 26 Feb 13

darwenTower says...

Darwen Malc wrote:
Well said, Counc Duncan!
Seconded.
[quote][p][bold]Darwen Malc[/bold] wrote: Well said, Counc Duncan![/p][/quote]Seconded. darwenTower
  • Score: -1

1:41am Wed 27 Feb 13

s_smith says...

Councillor? Im sorry... is he an elected representative of somewhere? the article refers to him as *Mr* Duncan and implies he is an EX councillor... which to my mind is someone who lost out on the vote of the popular majority.

Laudible as his efforts may be, but to call upon ones former political aspirations - and no doubt whos name shall be seen on a ballot paper somewhere in two months time - is quite distasteful.
Councillor? Im sorry... is he an elected representative of somewhere? the article refers to him as *Mr* Duncan and implies he is an EX councillor... which to my mind is someone who lost out on the vote of the popular majority. Laudible as his efforts may be, but to call upon ones former political aspirations - and no doubt whos name shall be seen on a ballot paper somewhere in two months time - is quite distasteful. s_smith
  • Score: 0

9:30am Wed 27 Feb 13

Councillor Duncan says...

(ex councillor) pity s.smith can't get their facts right - I was an elected town councillor and my login comes up as 'councillor' which I no longer am - thus I put on ex to make it clear I am no longer a councillor. And no I did not get voted off - I decided not to stand for re-election despite having the biggest majority at the first Darwen Town Council and have no aspirations to stand again!
(ex councillor) pity s.smith can't get their facts right - I was an elected town councillor and my login comes up as 'councillor' which I no longer am - thus I put on ex to make it clear I am no longer a councillor. And no I did not get voted off - I decided not to stand for re-election despite having the biggest majority at the first Darwen Town Council and have no aspirations to stand again! Councillor Duncan
  • Score: 0

9:32am Wed 27 Feb 13

happycyclist says...

Councillor Duncan wrote:
(former councillor) obviuosly the 4 people who have commented have reading difficulties as this project does not require local council funding but hopefully will be supported by national Lottery and Sports funding grants. It should actually save local funding as it would be available to local schools in both Darwen and Hoddlesden and surrounding areas. And unless you have a car it is 2 bus routes and at least half an hour each way if you live on the Bolton side of Darwen town centre. The sports field already exists as do changing rooms and shower facilities - let's give the children of Darwen and the surrounding area an athletics facility that does not exist at present.
Just imagine if all the bowling clubs, fishing clubs, football clubs etc were to be told all the facilities in Darwen were being withdrawn as facilities existed in Blackburn - there would be an uproar - why should Darreners have to go all the way to Witton Park for a running track!
Don't patronise me with sarcasm implying that I have reading difficulties, you pompous chump. It doesn't matter where the money comes from if it's still going to be wasted providing something that isn't needed.
"All the way to Witton"! It's a couple of miles down the road, not outer Mongolia.
There are lots of things that Blackburn has got that Darwen hasn't -because Blackburn is a much bigger town.
There are probably more cyclists in Darwen than there are runners, so why not build a velodrome there instead?
This Darwen vs Blackburn pettiness is pathetic. Blackburn hasn't got a gala, a music festival, a tower, a competition swimming pool... and Darwen hasn't got an ice rink, a museum and art gallery, a cinema...
Get over it.
[quote][p][bold]Councillor Duncan[/bold] wrote: (former councillor) obviuosly the 4 people who have commented have reading difficulties as this project does not require local council funding but hopefully will be supported by national Lottery and Sports funding grants. It should actually save local funding as it would be available to local schools in both Darwen and Hoddlesden and surrounding areas. And unless you have a car it is 2 bus routes and at least half an hour each way if you live on the Bolton side of Darwen town centre. The sports field already exists as do changing rooms and shower facilities - let's give the children of Darwen and the surrounding area an athletics facility that does not exist at present. Just imagine if all the bowling clubs, fishing clubs, football clubs etc were to be told all the facilities in Darwen were being withdrawn as facilities existed in Blackburn - there would be an uproar - why should Darreners have to go all the way to Witton Park for a running track![/p][/quote]Don't patronise me with sarcasm implying that I have reading difficulties, you pompous chump. It doesn't matter where the money comes from if it's still going to be wasted providing something that isn't needed. "All the way to Witton"! It's a couple of miles down the road, not outer Mongolia. There are lots of things that Blackburn has got that Darwen hasn't -because Blackburn is a much bigger town. There are probably more cyclists in Darwen than there are runners, so why not build a velodrome there instead? This Darwen vs Blackburn pettiness is pathetic. Blackburn hasn't got a gala, a music festival, a tower, a competition swimming pool... and Darwen hasn't got an ice rink, a museum and art gallery, a cinema... Get over it. happycyclist
  • Score: 2

10:35am Wed 27 Feb 13

happycyclist says...

Oh, and no athletics facilities are being withdrawn from Darwen because they exist in Blackburn. So there isn't going to be an uproar about that one.
Oh, and no athletics facilities are being withdrawn from Darwen because they exist in Blackburn. So there isn't going to be an uproar about that one. happycyclist
  • Score: 1

5:29pm Wed 27 Feb 13

penninelad says...

ste.g wrote:
happycyclist wrote: Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of.
couldnt agree more. hollern is a pratt and needs to stop squandering tax payers money
Hollern isn't a 'pratt' at all - if you read the article carefuly she hasn't promised one penny never mind 'squandering it'. She said that if the MP and Mr Duncan can up with the funding she'd support it. What's wrong with that ??
[quote][p][bold]ste.g[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]happycyclist[/bold] wrote: Really? Does Darwen REALLY need an athletics track? Witton Park isn't THAT far away, and is probably nearer to Darwen than some parts of Blackburn are. Use the money to make Witton a venue that the borough can be proud of.[/p][/quote]couldnt agree more. hollern is a pratt and needs to stop squandering tax payers money[/p][/quote]Hollern isn't a 'pratt' at all - if you read the article carefuly she hasn't promised one penny never mind 'squandering it'. She said that if the MP and Mr Duncan can up with the funding she'd support it. What's wrong with that ?? penninelad
  • Score: 0

5:31pm Wed 27 Feb 13

Major Tom says...

Darwin already had a running track... the A666. People can't wait to get out of the place.
Darwin already had a running track... the A666. People can't wait to get out of the place. Major Tom
  • Score: 0

10:56am Thu 28 Feb 13

milano says...

Whilst i applaud Mr Duncans commitment in this endeavour i have to say that Mr Duncan's comments or LT misquoting him in relation to Newrad Fisheries are written in a way that implies that he has been insrumental in their success. The success of Newrad has been acheived because people have spent 24/7 voluntarily building up the community and making this a site a jewel in the crown of bwdbc .As far as i aware Mr Duncan has not been involved with the running of Newrad for several years and to imply that without his help Newrad would not be were it is now is not only egoistical but an insult to the members who have re-elected a committee for the past 10yr+ because they do they do a fantastic job. Bit bad Ex Councillor Duncanbeing quoted riding on the success of others
Whilst i applaud Mr Duncans commitment in this endeavour i have to say that Mr Duncan's comments or LT misquoting him in relation to Newrad Fisheries are written in a way that implies that he has been insrumental in their success. The success of Newrad has been acheived because people have spent 24/7 voluntarily building up the community and making this a site a jewel in the crown of bwdbc .As far as i aware Mr Duncan has not been involved with the running of Newrad for several years and to imply that without his help Newrad would not be were it is now is not only egoistical but an insult to the members who have re-elected a committee for the past 10yr+ because they do they do a fantastic job. Bit bad Ex Councillor Duncanbeing quoted riding on the success of others milano
  • Score: 0

5:16pm Thu 28 Feb 13

district01 says...

“It comes after the town’s MP Jake Berry held a meeting with the man who came up with the idea, former town council deputy chairman Steve Duncan, the council’s chief executive Harry Catherall, and athletes from Darwen Dashers running club.”

So why don’t you ask them if they want you to help them Kate!

A running track would be really nice to run around. But surely the moors offer the perfect running track already? But as someone’s already mentioned, the car tracks both in Darwen and Blackburn are still a disgrace so priority and effort should go there first!

Question: When is little straw going to replace his father Jack Straw on the safe seat at Blackburn?
“It comes after the town’s MP Jake Berry held a meeting with the man who came up with the idea, former town council deputy chairman Steve Duncan, the council’s chief executive Harry Catherall, and athletes from Darwen Dashers running club.” So why don’t you ask them if they want you to help them Kate! A running track would be really nice to run around. But surely the moors offer the perfect running track already? But as someone’s already mentioned, the car tracks both in Darwen and Blackburn are still a disgrace so priority and effort should go there first! Question: When is little straw going to replace his father Jack Straw on the safe seat at Blackburn? district01
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Thu 28 Feb 13

district01 says...

PS - Here’s an idea. A long time ago there used to be a fell race from Tockholes to the tower top and back. Not sure if it’s still held but why not run a ‘Tower Top’ race from Darwen? There are plenty of runners in Blackburn and Darwen and it could become an annual event and would bring in people from away as well as being good for the local runners. The very first walk that Alfred Wainwright made was to Darwen Tower so perhaps it could be dedicated to him, though not sure if you'd ever have got him to run up there!
PS - Here’s an idea. A long time ago there used to be a fell race from Tockholes to the tower top and back. Not sure if it’s still held but why not run a ‘Tower Top’ race from Darwen? There are plenty of runners in Blackburn and Darwen and it could become an annual event and would bring in people from away as well as being good for the local runners. The very first walk that Alfred Wainwright made was to Darwen Tower so perhaps it could be dedicated to him, though not sure if you'd ever have got him to run up there! district01
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Councillor Duncan says...

Steve Duncan - Milano you obviously are another who has not read the article properly! I have simply used the obtaining of the lottery grant for Newrad
(some years ago now) as an example of how funds can be raised. You obviously know nothing about the history of the club, the funding for the top lodge, previous committee members going back some 25-30 years who have all played a part in the club. I suggest you speak to Andy Billington - the current chairperson (who incidently I originally fought to get on the committee - get your facts right and then issue a public apology!!
Steve Duncan - Milano you obviously are another who has not read the article properly! I have simply used the obtaining of the lottery grant for Newrad (some years ago now) as an example of how funds can be raised. You obviously know nothing about the history of the club, the funding for the top lodge, previous committee members going back some 25-30 years who have all played a part in the club. I suggest you speak to Andy Billington - the current chairperson (who incidently I originally fought to get on the committee - get your facts right and then issue a public apology!! Councillor Duncan
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Fri 1 Mar 13

joblogs1 says...

This on the face of it looks like a great scheme. Running track and not costing the tax payer any money. I however am always concerned with lottery bids when they build infastructure such as this.


Questions that need to be asked are;

Once the new track is built who will foot the operational cost of the site, Staffing and infastructure(e.g. hurdles)?
Will it be council operated or voluntry group operated?
Who will foot the maintainance cost ongoing for the life of the new track?

What is the demand for such a facility?

The biggest question is why when a far superior alternative already exists in the borough at Witton Park why is it required and/or will it be used at all?

Many athletic clubs outside the borough use Witton has they don't have a facility of there own. We are lucky in the borough to have such a facility already and its not like its over subscribed.

A feasibility study will should examine all this as it says in the report and hopefully conclude that its of no additional benifit.

If lottery bids are being wriiten then improvements to bridleways and footpaths around the Darwen moors would be a better investment and would have a greater benifit to more people and health. Maybe a main path / cycle path improvement scheme to Darwen Tower should be concidered.
This on the face of it looks like a great scheme. Running track and not costing the tax payer any money. I however am always concerned with lottery bids when they build infastructure such as this. Questions that need to be asked are; Once the new track is built who will foot the operational cost of the site, Staffing and infastructure(e.g. hurdles)? Will it be council operated or voluntry group operated? Who will foot the maintainance cost ongoing for the life of the new track? What is the demand for such a facility? The biggest question is why when a far superior alternative already exists in the borough at Witton Park why is it required and/or will it be used at all? Many athletic clubs outside the borough use Witton has they don't have a facility of there own. We are lucky in the borough to have such a facility already and its not like its over subscribed. A feasibility study will should examine all this as it says in the report and hopefully conclude that its of no additional benifit. If lottery bids are being wriiten then improvements to bridleways and footpaths around the Darwen moors would be a better investment and would have a greater benifit to more people and health. Maybe a main path / cycle path improvement scheme to Darwen Tower should be concidered. joblogs1
  • Score: 1

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