September 23 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Proposals to move a town’s top football club to a new stadium may be abandoned.
Suffolk Coastal council drew up a project to create three “sports hubs”, suggesting that Felixstowe and Walton United could move to the resort’s 35-acre edge-of-town outdoor sports site Eastward Ho.
The council said the Thurlow Nunn premier league side, which currently plays at the Goldstar Ground, Dellwood Avenue, needed to move if was is to expand and work towards its dream of playing at a higher level.
However, the project to move the football club may not be taken any further with proposals now understood to suggest that it stays at Dellwood, which would become the focus for football in the town, while cricket would move to Eastward Ho – a reversal of the original proposals.
TJ Haworth, Suffolk Coastal cabinet member with responsibility for customers, communities and leisure, said: “Work to develop a sports hub for Felixstowe has been continuing, in consultation with the local clubs, to establish the best and most practical way forward for everyone involved.
“Initial proposals are still being developed and are due to be taken to Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet, for discussion, in April.
“At that time, all the details will be in the public domain.”
Major work would be needed to create a stadium at Eastward Ho with issues of security, access, floodlighting, number and position of pitches, stands, changing facilities and clubhouse.
Club chairman Andy Wilding had said the Felixstowe and Walton Utd supported the move.
He said: “The football club are naturally excited by these proposals and see this as a fantastic opportunity to develop and expand the football club, football in general in the local community and ultimately all sports on the peninsula.”
Town councillors have already voiced concern at the impact on open countryside alongside and The Grove woodland next door.
Council chiefs say the hub scheme would save up to £56,000 a year and make better use of under-used pitches in the town.
People living around Dellwood Avenue may be upset at a concentration of football on the site, though changes could possibly mean the main pitch, stand and clubhouse moving to different places, further from homes.
Under the hub plan, hockey would be based at Felixstowe Academy, while the Langley Avenue playing field would remain as a sports field. It is understood rugby would stay at Coronation Park.
There had been speculation that Langley Avenue could be used for housing when it is not needed for school use after the new academy opens, or for a cemetery extension.
Smaller clubs have voiced concern that they could lose their pitches altogether as part of the plans.
Particularly at risk are Walton Rec and Harper’s Field, which unless clubs that play there want to take them over would no longer be use for sport and revert to public open space.