New lease of life for football club

ONE of the best-known amateur football clubs in Suffolk is looking forward to an exciting new lease of life in a smart new ground.Whitton United is to get its first-ever brick clubhouse and grandstand as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the King George V playing field on the north west edge of the town.

ONE of the best-known amateur football clubs in Suffolk is today looking forward to an exciting new lease of life in a smart new ground.

Whitton United in Ipswich is to get its first-ever brick clubhouse and grandstand as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the King George V playing field on the north west edge of the town.

The redevelopment will see five new football pitches laid beside Whitton Sports Centre on the other side of the Old Norwich Road and a development of 250 homes and a medical centre on the rest of the playing field.

Outline planning permission for the development has already been granted and detailed plans are to be submitted to the borough council later in the year.

Martin Blake, who is a trustee of the playing field and runs Merchant Projects which has drawn up plans for the development, said it would still take several years for everything to be completed.

He said: “The first thing we have to do is develop the pitches beside the sports centre. There will be five new pitches which will replace five pitches currently on the playing field.

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“We can only start redeveloping them once the teams have new pitches to play on.”

As well as the pitches there will also be a new changing room and car park accessed from Whitton Church Lane.

The new pitch for the senior team will be built beside the Bury Road retail park, acting as a buffer between that and the homes that will be built on the rest of the playing field.

Whitton United chairman Jeff Crane hoped the new pitch and clubhouse would be ready in two years' time - and would herald in a new era for the club which was formed in 1926.

“It will be wonderful to have such great facilities. It will be the first time we have had a proper brick clubhouse and stand.

“We won't own it - it will still be owned by the King George's playing field and we will rent it. But it is going to be a great advance for us,” he said.

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