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A SCHEME to buy land for new leisure pitches on the edge of Didcot has been criticised as poor value for money by Conservative councillors.

Labour-controlled Didcot Town Council last month agreed to spend more than £1m creating the pitches on 25 acres of land at Hadden Hill, off the A4130.

After identifying the site and negotiating with the landowner, town council leaders have agreed in principle to buy the land.

But the decision is being questioned by Conservative councillors who suggest it is not a good investment and is in the wrong place because it will be difficult to access from the A4130.

Bill Service, South Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet member for leisure, and fellow Tory town councillors Margaret Turner, Tony Harbour, Catherine Kiely, Christopher Harrison, Phil Hayward and Roger Hawlor, have issued a statement condemning the plan.

It claimed the council would have to borrow £2m to purchase the land and create playing fields with off-road access and changing rooms.

Mr Service said: “We really don’t think this plan should go ahead – it’s not a great location. While we commend the council for searching for land to fill a recognised need, this particular site is in the wrong place.”

Town council leader Margaret Davies disputed the amount the town council would have to borrow, saying about £1.2m was needed to buy the site and pay for the initial work at the site.

She said: “We still have to apply for a loan from the Public Works Loans Board and seek planning permission, subject to financial and legal agreements.”

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