Ipswich: Borough preparing to take over at Ransomes

Ransomes Sports Club

Ransomes Sports Club

After months of wrangling and the threat of legal action, agreement has been reached for the Ipswich Council to take control of Ransomes Sports and Social Club.

The borough bought the freehold of the ground in Sidegate Avenue in 1995 after Ransomes itself pulled out – but for the last 18 years the club has been run by an independent management committee.

The formal long-term lease ran out three years ago, and over recent years some sports clubs – except football – have left the ground.

The council has been trying to take back the running of the club for more than a year, but lack of agreement with management committee and general manager Peter Gorham has prevented a deal being completed.

Now, however, both sides have agreed that the council will take over running the club directly from November 1.

Borough executive member for leisure Bryony Rudkin said existing commitments would be honoured – sports clubs using the ground had been kept informed about the progress of negotiations.

She said among the first priorities would be to check the condition of the main clubhouse and see what improvements were needed to the changing rooms.

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“We will be taking over in November, so the weather will be a factor in any work we can do in the immediate future – but we are very keen to ensure we do whatever we can.

“We want to talk to all the clubs about their fixtures and other commitments. And we want to look ahead to see what can be done to prepare for next summer.”

Mrs Rudkin said the council was keen to ensure the cricket square would be good enough to be used – and the council would also be considering restoring the bowls green and tennis courts.

“The bowls green is not a certainty because many of the players who used to come here have now moved to other clubs.

“The tennis courts, though, are something we may well look at – there has been much more interest in that over recent years for obvious reasons.”

She added: “Judy Murray inspired many people when she came to the town and we would like to keep up the momentum – and Ransomes might be restored.”

Is it good for the borough to take over Ransomes? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk