College sporting boost for town

IPSWICH is today on track for a major sporting boost after proposals for a �3.5 million all-weather facility at Suffolk New College were submitted.

IPSWICH is today on track for a major sporting boost after proposals for a �3.5 million all-weather facility at Suffolk New College were submitted.

The plans include the construction of 11 floodlit five-a-side pitches and a two-storey sports hall.

The application is a joint venture between the college and Goals Soccer Centres - a national company which has already built 33 similar developments elsewhere in the UK.

If the project is rubber stamped, the pitches would be used by college students during the day in term time and would be available for community use in the evenings, weekends and holidays.

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College bosses are in talks with two Ipswich schools, which currently have inadequate sports provision, with a view to pupils having games lessons at the site. Ipswich Town's Community Trust has also expressed an interest in using the pitches.

The development will be built on land currently occupied by the college's derelict tower block and associated buildings, which are due to be gradually demolished in the coming months.

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While the pitches, which feature high tech turf, would predominantly be used for football, the sports hall would also accommodate basketball, badminton and trampolining.

Sport England has agreed to make a �500,000 grant to the project, with the rest of the capital coming from the college and Goals Soccer Centres.

If the application, which is due to be considered in November, is successful, the facility will create between 12 and 18 jobs.

Students have had to travel to out of town locations for sport since the college's hall was demolished three years ago.

Mary Gleave, associate principal, said there was demand for quality sports provision in the town centre.

“There are no facilities in this part of Ipswich,” she said. “Most are on the outskirts of the town.

“This development will benefit the community and it will really enhance the curriculum.”

Borough Council chief executive James Hehir said the project would “help in the regeneration of an important part of Ipswich”.

Would you welcome the development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

n The development will feature a lounge/caf� area, complete with a viewing balcony

n It will be the biggest Goals Soccer Centre in the region

n There will be ten five-a-side pitches and one seven-a-side pitch. The design allows for the space to be turned into a nine-a-side pitch, too

n The quality of the artificial turf is such that football boots can be worn rather than astro-turf trainers

n The planning application also features improved car parking and landscaping

n Trees will be planted along Grimwade Street to reduce noise and block out floodlighting

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