Could sports in Ipswich's Whitton area be ready for shake-up?

Whitton sports centre

Could new pitches be developed beside Whitton Sports Centre in north west Ipswich? - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Ipswich council is launching a new survey of sports provision in the northwest of the town which could see a revival of plans to develop new pitches beside Whitton Sports Centre.

But at present nothing is fixed and all potential proposals are being considered, said council leader David Ellesmere.

The northwest of the town - and especially the Whitton Sports Centre - was a notable absentee when plans to shake up the borough's sports provision was announced last week.

A new sports centre could be built at Gainsborough by 2025, a new aquatic centre could open in Portman Road in 2027 and the Northgate Sports Centre is likely to be handed back to its owner Suffolk County Council.

But when the future plans are discussed at Wednesday's executive meeting of the borough, councillors will hear that officials are still looking at options for the northwest of the town.

One option under the microscope is understood to be reviving the proposal considered and backed in 2007 to sell off most of the King George V playing fields for redevelopment and creating new football pitches on borough council-owned land next to Whitton Sports Centre.

Whitton United's ground would have been the only pitch left on that site.

In 2007 that proposal had support from local amateur footballers - but foundered because the land beside the sports centre was in the Mid Suffolk district and that council's planners raised concerns about the loss of agricultural land.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, says the new sports centres will be 'better quality'

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, says the new sports centres will be 'better quality' - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Mr Ellesmere said there was a full review underway of all the land owned by the borough in that part of the town, including some beside the Anglia Retail Park.

It has built new social housing on the former bakery site - and is also due to build a new surgery there for the Cardinal Medical Practice which should open in 2025.

The council still owns land next to the Whitton sports centre which is currently farmed. Mr Ellesmere said: "At this stage we are looking at all the options in that part of the town - it is certainly not being overlooked as we draw up our new strategy."