Improved basketball facility in Oakham, Rutland.

Improved basketball facility in Oakham, Rutland.

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James Cockerill started this petition to Oakham council and

In Oakham, there is only one area provided by the council suitable for playing basketball. Basketball is an increasing in popularity throughout Rutland, as well as the whole of England, making it the second fastest growing sport in the UK, only behind women’s football. 

The area provided by the council on Princess Avenue, in the park, is outdated, unsafe and unusable for a group of any size over around four people. My reasoning for this is that for starters, the concrete flooring is very small compared to other courts in surrounding towns, such as Stamford and Melton Mowbray. It barely accommodates a NCAA standard three-point line, which measures at its farthest distance just over 22 feet from the hoop. The concrete is also incredibly run down, with broken curb-like features separating it from the grass. It also has no markings, meaning they often have to be drawn on with chalk. The surrounding grass poses as a large safety hazard, as the moisture gets onto the users shoes, making the court extremely slippery and from personal experience, has resulted in injury. The hoop is far taller than worldwide regulation (10ft), making it unrealistic to play on. The material of the hoop makes it less fun to use, as it unrealistically rebounds the ball away from the hoop when hit. To top it off, it has no provided net, which makes a huge difference.

I personally play for Rutland Thunders, the local basketball team, who during the pandemic had nowhere to train except this area. We safely followed all the government COVID-19 protocols, and during some sessions had 10 plus children turn up to train with us. This was near on impossible due to the restrictions of the outdated, unsuitable facility. With nowhere to train, we face huge problems as a club, which is devastating given the growing popularity of the sport.

We are pushing for this area to be re-surfaced with newer, safer material as well as NBA regulation three-point line markings (23ft) with space surrounding that also. We are also pushing for a new regulation sized hoop, as previously mentioned, along with a chain net so that the users do not have to provide one for their own use. And finally, we would love to see the addition of a metal cage-like fence surrounding the court to limit the introduction of mud, moisture and animal waste from the court, as the park is a popular dog walking area.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could sign this petition, even if you have no intention of using the facility, as it would have a great positive impact on the Oakham community, helping children typically in their teenage years who have nothing better to do than resorting to drugs.

Thank you very much,

James Cockerill.

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