Reading house development cash for hammer-throwing cage

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image captionThe facilities at Palmer Park will be upgraded with part of a leisure contribution from a developer

Money from a huge new housing development will be used to improve outdoor sports facilities in a park.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) said it will spend £32,000 on a replacement hammer-throwing cage at Palmer Park using funds from a 765-home project on the site of a former Toys R Us store.

The developer gave a £353,509 leisure contribution to the council as part of RBC's approval of the development.

The cage is used by Reading Athletics Club and the University of Reading.

Palmer Park also hosts Berkshire School Competition events, Wokingham and Districts School events and other competitions ranging from regional to county level.

If the throwing cage is not replaced, Palmer Park would lose its Track Mark accreditation because it would no longer comply with UK and World Athletics guidelines, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The current cage has reached the end of its life and will be replaced with an upgraded World Athletics certified Thor 9 cage.

Reading Athletics Club's throwing coach, Charlotte Webb, said the club was "delighted" the council had secured the necessary funding to replace the cage.

She said: "The club has a proud tradition of producing top young athletes in both track and field over the years and the cage replacement ensures this can continue.

"This cage is desperately needed, indeed it has been over 12 months since the equipment was deemed to be unsafe."

Ms Webb said it had been "hugely frustrating" not to be able to train throwing and multi-event athletes in hammer or discus given the added "complication" of periods of Covid-related lockdown.

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