RINGWOOD is the most “under provided urban area” for recreation in the district – according to councillors.

Leisure, Recreation and Open Spaces Committee chairman Brian Terry claims young people especially, are “losing out”.

And Mr Terry said the situation was unlikely to improve unless more land was acquired at the Long Lane site, which currently houses Ringwood Town Football Club.

He said: “Ringwood has been the most under provided urban area in the district for years.

“We haven’t got enough open spaces for leisure activities for the size of the population.

“We need to cater for minority sports like archery, athletics and field events and have more cricket pitches and tennis provision with modern, warm changing facilities appropriate to the sport.

“Currently our changing facilities are awful with just a cold tap provided for youngsters in some areas.

“Ideally we would like to house all our sports at Long Lane, but at this stage it is only big enough for the football pitches currently housed on the land. If some landowners sold us more acres, then we could be in a position to increase our sporting facilities.”

Martin Devine, head of leisure at New Forest District Council, confirmed that Ringwood was the most under provided urban area, in terms of recreational provision, in the district.

And he said that the Long Lane proposals could make a real difference to recreational provision in the town.

At the recent committee meeting, councillors discussed a strategy with the district council to deliver leisure facilities at Long Lane and the riverside walk from the Bickerley to West Street.

Mr Terry added: “We want to provide a service to all the residents in Ringwood. Firstly we need to ask about using developers’ contributions to develop Long Lane and investigate the land that may be available.”