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Opening of athletics track at Three Hills Sport Park in Folkestone delayed by Pent Stream concerns


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Work on a long-awaited athletics track has been halted over concerns about a water course running below the site.

The new facility at the Three Hills Sport Park in Folkestone had been expected to open this autumn, but the depth of the culvert carrying the Pent Stream under the ground forced construction to cease.

Work on the new athletics track came to a halt over environmental concerns
Work on the new athletics track came to a halt over environmental concerns

Early work on the site had already started, with earth-moving equipment visibly marking out where the track would sit.

But the decision to stop has now left the site overgrown - and there is currently no new date for when the sporting venue will open to the public.

A spokesman for Three Hills said: "During works earlier this year, the contractors established that the position of the Pent Stream culvert did not match the original surveys.

"Work was paused while our engineers worked closely with the Environment Agency to find a solution that would protect the culvert.

"We are delighted that they have now found a solution and work can recommence at Three Hills.

How the Three Hills running track could look. Credit: Guy Hollaway Architects
How the Three Hills running track could look. Credit: Guy Hollaway Architects

"We're looking forward to welcoming everyone to this outstanding new community facility and we can't wait to be able to provide an expected completion date once our contractors have fully reviewed the revised plans."

Currently athletes in Folkestone have to travel 25 minutes by car to reach similar facilities, at either Ashford's Julie Rose Stadium or at the Canterbury Academy.

The new facility at the Cheriton Road sports ground, which is backed by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, will be home to Folkestone Running Club.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We have issued a flood risk activity permit for the works, and subsequently a permit variation, due to the top of the culvert being higher than originally anticipated by the contractor.

"We have reviewed and accepted these proposals for protecting the culvert from damage, and for ensuring that there is no loss in floodplain storage from the new athletics track, so that flood risk is not increased."

The site has become increasingly overgrown as work stopped this summer
The site has become increasingly overgrown as work stopped this summer

Commenting on the anticipated facility, Folkestone Running Club chairman Margaret Witham said: "There is no doubt that this development will help stimulate the growth of athletics in the town."

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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