LONG-AWAITED plans to turn Green Lane playing fields into a sports complex are still not a done deal.

The news came as the town’s archery club voiced fears it was being kicked into touch at the sports project, which has backing from the Football Foundation.

Deputy town clerk Simon Fisher was forced to defend his dealings with Wiltshire Football Association and the Football Foundation after members of Devizes Bowmen told a town council meeting on Tuesday evening that they felt excluded from talks on the project.

Devizes Mayor Nigel Carter said: “I appreciate the Bowmen’s concerns but we are still at a point of shifting sands.

“All aspects of the lease and financing are by no means secure.”

Mr Fisher told the town council meeting that talks with the NHS, which owns the fields, had been difficult and the negotiations with the football organisations were still sensitive.

But he believed that plans for a two-storey building which would have changing rooms on the first floor and offices for the Wiltshire FA upstairs were a good starting point.

He said: “This is not the finish, it is just the start. We hope in the future there will be a phase two and a phase three that will involve other sports.”

He allayed the fears of Bowmen chairman Neil Lockhart when he said that an amendment to the lease with the NHS, which had just been agreed, would give the archery club security on the playing fields for 71 years. Mr Lockhart said: “The lease arrangement is good news.”

Councillor Albert Wooldridge, who is chairman of the recreation and properties committee and a member of Devizes Bowmen, had tabled the item to force a debate on the subject.

In his report to the meeting, he said: “The plan and designed layout only has the interest of the Football Association who are funding the majority of the project. The council has only been involved twice and this project has been officer-led.

“This project started out to be a multi-sports facility to include the young and old of all sports.” He called for a working party to be set up so all interested sports clubs could be involved.

Deputy mayor Andy Geddes tabled an amendment which said it was premature to set up a working party but the committee would resolve to communicate fully with all interested clubs and stakeholders. This was agreed by nine votes to two with one abstention.