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Blues tackled over towers

PUBLISHED: 12:36 11 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:30 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town scored an own goal when coaches decided to spot the weaknesses of young players by filming their training sessions.

The club erected four 18-foot high towers around the pitches in Playford Road, Rushmere St Andrew, near Ipswich, and sent staff clambering up wooden ladders to the top to video the players.

IPSWICH Town scored an own goal when coaches decided to spot the weaknesses of young players by filming their training sessions.

The club erected four 18-foot high towers around the pitches in Playford Road, Rushmere St Andrew, near Ipswich, and sent staff clambering up wooden ladders to the top to video the players.

But it had not received permission from Suffolk Coastal District Council to put up the structures and two were taken down after complaints by neighbours, who described them as "prison camp look-out towers".

Town also fell foul of the owners of the Crane's site who sent a letter to the council to complain they had not given permission for the development to take place at the site where the Portman Road outfit trains its youngsters.

There was also confusion when planning application notices were displayed to alert the public to the new towers, the 18-foot high netting behind the goals and a plywood rebound wall.

The original notices referred to the camera towers being nearly 40-foot high – Suffolk Coastal said that was because of an error on the drawings.

The dispute came to an end when the district council gave the towers 12 months temporary planning permission, and three years for the nets and rebound wall.

But councillor Ron Else fiercely criticised the football club and said: ''Premiership football is a business and millions of pounds a year comes in. There is no need to skimp and give us a disgusting tower made up of old scaffolding and old hessian.

"The club can afford to do it properly and we do not need these eyesores around the site."

Residents in The Mills, off Playford Road, had persuaded the club to remove one tower directly situated behind their properties after complaining it was an invasion of privacy.

Patrick Bloomfield said: "I have never seen the towers used. They always looked temporary and we did not realise what their intended use was. They are rickety old structures with a wooden ladder to the top and look very makeshift."

In a letter to the council a group of residents wrote: ''Following the major development of Bent Lane and the old Crane's site with nets, floodlights, car parks and a massive training dome, these further developments are seriously changing the nature and character of a high class residential area.

''This is not a matter of recreational football pitches in the accepted terms of the original plan, but increasingly a business and commercial exploitation for the football industry."

No one from Ipswich Town was available for comment.


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