Massive homes and sport plan for town

IPSWICH could be transformed with a multimillion-pound development bringing hundreds of homes and new sporting facilities to the edge of the town.The site off Old Norwich Road, currently the King George V Playing Field and the former Tooks bakery, could be converted into a 250-home development.

IPSWICH could be transformed with a multimillion-pound development bringing hundreds of homes and new sporting facilities to the edge of the town.

The site off Old Norwich Road, currently the King George V Playing Field and the former Tooks bakery, could be converted into a 250-home development.

Developer Merchant Projects' proposals for the site also include community facilities with a doctor's surgery and new facilities for Whitton United Football Club.

These are a new first-team pitch, a practice pitch, a training area, changing rooms and a clubhouse.

It is estimated that this development would be worth around £30 million.

Merchant Projects also proposes to convert 13 acres of agricultural land, which is off the town's Whitton Church Lane and adjacent to Whitton Sport and Community Centre, into playing fields with car parking and changing facilities.

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It is envisaged that these new playing fields would be maintained by Whitton Sport and Community Centre, but owned by the King George V Playing Field Trust.

At the new playing fields, there would be enough space for four senior and one junior football pitch. Martin Blake, managing director of Merchant Projects, said: "For Whitton United, there will be a new football pitch. There will also be affordable housing, new housing and increased recreation facilities not only for Ipswich but also for Suffolk."

David Coe, a trustee of The King George V Playing Field Trust, which owns the Old Norwich Road playing field, said: "The problem with the current pitch is that the facilities there are now old and by moving to new, bigger facilities off Whitton Church Lane, we can improve the offering to the various people who use it."

A Whitton United Football Club spokesman said the new facilities off Old Norwich Road site would mean senior football could continue there, while the youth, children's and other teams would use the replacement playing fields off Whitton Church Lane.

He added: "For Whitton United, which struggles to maintain the present facilities, it will ensure a long-term future and the opportunity to move forward in senior, local football.

"The additional sporting facilities offered in the proposal would be of great benefit to the people of the surrounding areas and Ipswich and mid-Suffolk generally."

Steve Miller, principal planning officer for Ipswich Borough Council said: "The general view is that if it results in improved playing facilities for the town, then it's a proposal that can be encouraged. There is an ever-growing need to build more housing within the town."

Do you think these proposals are a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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