New pavilion opened at Ransomes Sports Club open day in Ipswich
A new £700,000 pavilion for Ransomes Sports’ Club has been opened at a special family fun day in Sidegate Avenue.
The new building replaces the former clubhouse that was demolished three years ago after it became structurally unsafe – and work is continuing to develop the sports ground for a variety of users.
Ransomes Sports Club was bought by the borough council in the 1990s and was leased to a management committee for 15 years.
In 2013 the borough took back the lease over concerns about the way the club was being run – and in November of that year a survey revealed that the 1960s-built clubhouse was no longer structurally sound. It was closed immediately and temporary buildings were brought in to provide changing facilities for sports teams.
At the time there were claims that the borough had taken back the lease to allow it to sell off the land for housing – although the Labour administration always denied this.
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Now the new pavilion has been opened by Ipswich mayor Roger Fern – and the number of sports clubs using Ransomes is on the increase.
Borough council leader David Ellesmere was delighted to see the opening of the new building – and was making plans for more activity on the site.
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He said: “This is a really good building for sports ground and it is already getting a considerable amount of use – but we want to see things develop more.”
The bowls green had fallen into disuse before the borough took back the lease. It has been restored and a bowls club from Waldringfield has moved in: “That is really pleasing, to see a much-missed facility come back to life,” said Mr Ellesmere.
The cricket pitches have been improved – and more work will be undertaken to bring it back to the standard so Suffolk can play Minor Counties’ matches at Ransomes again.
The pavilion has changing rooms, a function room and kitchen facilities – and is available for hire by members of the public.
Mr Ellesmere added: “We decided to buy Ransomes just after I joined the council – it was one of the first things I remember being involved with. To see this new pavilion is wonderful. It shows we were serious when we said we wouldn’t sell the site for housing!”