Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 11:35 UK

Council approves athletics track

A plan to build an athletics track in Kent which could be used in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics has been approved by a council.

Maidstone Borough Council decided the track could be built at Sutton Valence School, Chart Sutton, near Maidstone, at a meeting on Thursday night.

The council is now seeking contractors, with a 10 week building programme due to start in three to four weeks.

The plan was opposed by Sutton Valence Parish Council.

Speaking on Wednesday, Larry Mulheirn, of Sutton Valence Parish Council, said the council was concerned the facility could turn into a "white elephant".

'Unique opportunity'

But Paul Alcock, of Medway and Maidstone Athletic Club, said: "Maidstone has really suffered from not having its own facilities, we are delighted the planners have given the green light."

Thirty-five sports facilities in the South East have already been suggested as training venues for the 2012 Paralympics, with eight in Kent and one in Sussex.

South East England Development Agency (Seeda) has urged the region to embrace the opportunities the Olympics will bring.

Paddy Herlihy, of Seeda, said the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were a unique opportunity for the region because of its proximity to London.

'Excessive noise'

He added: "We are anticipating bringing a billion pounds of business on tourism alone just on the profile that London will have."

Sevenoaks District Council is currently considering the proposals for an Olympic Skeet shooting training facility at Gabriel's Farm on Marsh Green Road in Edenbridge.

But residents fear the plans, on the borders of Surrey and Sussex, will result in excessive noise on a daily basis.

Organisers said the range would help get British shooting to the very top of its game.

Rows over new sports facilities
27 Aug 08 |  England
Olympic training venues - South East
03 Mar 08 |  London 2012

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