NEWENT could lose out on £320k worth of investment because district planners don’t want an ‘elitist and selfish’ running club to build a changing room without toilets.

Cinderford councillor Lynn Sterry (Lab) blasted the plans for the building which would act as a gathering point for Newent’s growing running club on a proposed recreation ground on land south of Meadow Grove.

The developer of the nearby housing sites has allocated a total of £617,256 to build a recreation ground and changing facilities for Newent Runners.

But if councillors choose to reject proposals for a changing room the Forest of Dean District Council could lose out on £319,260.

Cllr Sterry said that it was selfish that the wider public would not have access to the site and that it did not include public toilets and added: “As I see it we’ve got a bit of an elitist thing going on here. We’ve got the runners who seem to be more important than the people who want to use the park.

“Because if you want to go to the toilet you have to go home or pee behind the shed or in the bushes. That’s not right. I think we should defer this application and try and talk some sense into somebody.”

Peter Williams the district’s planning chief told the committee that there had been extensive public consultation about the layout and content of the proposed site before it was put forward.

He said: “The provision of changing rooms is specific to the group we’ve been discussing using the facilities. They don’t want toilet facilities because it adds to their maintenance liability.

“It won’t be an open access facility for use by the public. The people of Newent have said what they want and this is it.”?