Rowing: Training facilities boosted

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British rowing was boosted yesterday as plans were unveiled for a new pounds 30m training course in Reading. Built on the site of an old quarry the 600-acre water park will be part-funded by the National Lottery and by the sale of property around the edge of the facility.

However, the project still hangs on the verdict of South Oxfordshire Council's planning committee, which will receive an application later this week. Its long-term planning strategy does not allow the building of residential property on the land, which will cause problems as the cash raised from the sale of such developments is the key for the project getting the go-ahead. Despite this the landowners do not envisage a problem and aim to get the project ready by the autumn of 1999 in time for the Sydney Olympics.

"We currently train in Henley but we've always run into problems. In the winter the water gets dangerous and in the summer the river [Thames] becomes too congested," the two-time Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent said.

"It's difficult to share the river with other users and this facility will make our final preparations for Sydney a lot easier," his colleague Steve Redgrave said.