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Club bosses call for new ground

PUBLISHED: 12:39 12 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

FOOTBALL club chiefs at Felixstowe today urged planners to find them a new ground on the edge of the town to solve all their off-field problems.

But the boss of the resort's premier club also attacked council officials for dragging their heels in giving it help, and leaving it with some of the worst facilities not only in the league but for a town of its size.

FOOTBALL club chiefs at Felixstowe today urged planners to find them a new ground on the edge of the town to solve all their off-field problems.

But the boss of the resort's premier club also attacked council officials for dragging their heels in giving it help, and leaving it with some of the worst facilities not only in the league but for a town of its size.

Tony Barnes, chairman of Felixstowe and Walton United FC, said the club was refusing to sign a new lease for its ground in Dellwood Avenue because of the lack of help it was receiving from its landlord, Suffolk Coastal council.

"Our club does a fine job in taking nearly 250 children off the street corners of this town and giving them an interest, an activity and excellent coaching, and we try to do our best for them," he said.

"But the council continually drags its heels in all its dealings with us and gives us very little help at all.

"Our pavilion is antiquated and should be knocked down. Gone are the days of wooden huts – you should not expect children to change in these sorts of places in this day and age.

"Even a survey done for the council said it should be condemned – the surveyor had seen ones in a lot better condition which had already been condemned.

"We travel to other clubs, smaller towns than Felixstowe, and are green with envy when we see changing rooms, floodlit training pitches and floodlit main pitches – never mind having to take down your floodlights after every game.

"There just seem to be so many obstacles put in our path all the time and everything seems to take so long with Suffolk Coastal."

Mr Barnes is hoping that the new Suffolk Coastal Local Plan will identify a new ground for the club on the outskirts of the town.

"That would be the ideal solution. Our current pitch has housing around it and we are restricted by the hockey and cricket use of part of the ground," he said.

"At present our junior teams play at schools, Eastward Ho and Langley Avenue and we never get to see half our members. It would be great to have one headquarters where we could all meet with proper facilities."

The club was relegated from the Jewson Premier League the season before last and will have to provide new changing rooms and a new stand if it wins promotion to meet league requirements.

But because it cannot find out how much it will have to pay for a council archaeological check on the land – the site of medieval hall – and the lack of financial help from the council, it is refusing to sign its lease.

No-one from Suffolk Coastal council was available to comment.

n Where do think would be the best site for a new ground for Felixstowe and Walton Utd? Write to Evening Star letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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