Stowmarket: Call for major new sport and leisure site as Stowmarket Town Football Club looks to expand
06:00 23 April 2014
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A council boss has admitted that a “rapidly-growing” town has outgrown its sports facilities – as it searches for a major site where a new leisure centre and football club could be based.
Stowmarket Town Football Club and Mid Suffolk District Council have gone “back to the drawing board” in their hunt to find a location for the sports facilities in the town.
David Benham, corporate manager for economic development and tourism at Mid Suffolk and Babergh district councils, made the comments about the town. He said it was proving difficult to find the right site but the search was continuing.
“We did a report looking at potential sites but they were just looking at sites that might be suitable, they were not technically looking at where possibly to have the sports facilities,” he said.
“The town is growing at a rapid rate – it’s been outgrown. It’s not easy, we cannot magic the sites up. We would have to pay for the site and find the money – it’s not straight forward.”
Last year Mid Suffolk compiled a list of about half a dozen possible sites for the football club and leisure centre. Nigel Jarvis, director of projects for Stowmarket Town Football Club, said the continued search for the right site, was proving a “stumbling block” for the club.
“Stowmaket’s facilities are a poor relation to other clubs like Walsham and Needham; and thinking about the size of the town and the developments taking place it would nice to get the facilities to match,” he said. “Mid Suffolk and the local councillors have provided a great deal of support and continue to do so. We are working with them to try to find a suitable site.
“We are very keen to move; without moving somewhere the club is not going to progress. We have 16-17 youth teams and a girls’ team was recently set up – the club is trying to go places. Without moving to a different facility we will not attract funding.”
The club is currently based at Greens Meadow but the ground is prone to flooding and has limited opportunities for expansion.