TAMWORTH'S councillors voted unanimously last night to approve Wests Entertainment Group's contentious plans to construct a $12 million motel and function centre on Scully Park No. 1 Oval.
The councillors resisted calls from several speakers at the start of the meeting to refuse the development on the grounds the loss of the historic sporting field was not in the public's interest.
But the councillors were not to be swayed by the arguments and voted 8-0 in favour of the project.
Cr Juanita Wilson said: "It does grieve me (because) I've watched many exciting games on that field with family and friends, but I think it is a positive move for Tamworth."
Wests chief executive officer Rod Laing told the meeting that the development was essential for the club's future viability.
"The board is committed to diversifying into accommodation and this will ensure the club's reliance on alcohol and gaming is reduced."
Save Our Scully spokesman Stephen Young said in the aftermath of the vote that the group was "disappointed" in the result.
"We believe Wests could achieve its financial goals with a motel elsewhere on the site," he said.
"The famous football field on Scully Park No. 1 could be retained and Scully Park No. 2 would remain untouched for the enjoyment of the community."