SANDHURST residents have delivered what could be the knock-out blow to Town Council plans to have a youth advice centre on the Memorial Park next to the Coffee Spot.

In a 35 per cent poll less than one in ten voters supported the Town Council view and the rest backed local residents' associations who are objecting to the proposal. Both sides had been allowed to state their case in 300 words on the survey leaflets delivered to 7764 houses in the town.

Final voting figures announced on Monday were 2381 supporting the residents' associations and only 236 the Town Council. There were 11 spoilt papers.

Opponents were cock-a-hoop at the result. Former Mayor Ray Earwicker declared: "This has been a good lesson for the council in that if it wants to go ahead with controversial proposals it should consult the residents first. The council betrayed the trust of residents and it deserves all it gets."

Mr Earwicker said he did not believe the town council now had any option but to back off.

Sandhurst Residents' Association Chairman, Mrs Val Crosby-Clarke, commented: "We are obviously delighted that it's turned out this way and that the residents have been given the chance to speak. We hope the Town Council will agree to stand by the results."

Coun. Dale Birch said he could not comment on what other councillors would do and they would have to be mindful of the result. But he believed they still had an obligation to do something to help the youth of the town.

"I am personally disappointed for our young people," he added.

One of the major issues was the covenant covering the Memorial Park which states that the land should be for leisure use by the people of Sandhurst.

Former Mayor, Coun. Peter North said people did not realise that breaches of the covenant had already taken place.

To undo them would affect thousands of people - "only now will people realise what they voted for."

He said that away teams who turned up to play football were not residents of Sandhurst and that there was trading at the Gardening Club, which also included people from other areas.