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New sports centre for edge of town

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

A NEW multi-million pound project to create a new sports' centre on the edge of Ipswich can be revealed today by The Evening Star.

The proposal would see one of the top amateur football clubs in the region move to a new home - and the creation of a top sporting centre of excellence.

A multi-million pound project to create a sports centre on the edge of Ipswich can be revealed today by The Evening Star.

The proposal would see one of the top amateur football clubs in the region move to a new home – and the creation of a top sporting centre of excellence.

Whitton United would leave its current home at the King George V Playing Field beside Bury Road, for a new pitch on the opposite side of the Old Norwich Road, behind Whitton Sports Centre.

The 23-acre site is agricultural land and planning permission will have to be obtained from Mid Suffolk Council before the development can go ahead. The new site is almost twice the size of the existing 13-acre playing field, which would be sold for development to finance the new sports facility.

Surveyor Martin Blake, who is representing the club, said: "Our aim would be to get enough money from the sale of the existing land to buy the new area and invest the rest of the money to give us an income stream.

"We don't know what the land would be used for, but the old bakery site next door is already earmarked for housing development in the local plan."

Mr Blake hoped the football club would be able to move to its new home in about three years.

"But that depends on planning permission – and on preparing the land as football pitches. That can't be done overnight," he said.

About eight or nine pitches could be created. In the medium term the club also hopes to develop changing rooms, a clubhouse, and improved training facilities. Eventually it hopes to build its own sports hall. The playing fields would be run by the club with support from Suffolk College.

The project would give a boost to the area where the local high school, Thurleston, is applying for specialist science college status.

Mr Blake said:"If this goes ahead, it would certainly be one of the finest sports facilities in the town. It would be available to the public, but it would be owned and run by a private-sector charitable trust."

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