New sports pitch for resort

A MUCH-needed £500,000 all-weather sports pitch for Felixstowe is a step closer today.Planning permission has now been agreed for a site for the full-sized floodlit synthetic grass surface and now funding arrangements just need to be completed.

A MUCH-needed £500,000 all-weather sports pitch for Felixstowe is a step closer today.

Planning permission has now been agreed for a site for the full-sized floodlit synthetic grass surface and now funding arrangements just need to be completed.

Suffolk County Council's development control sub committee gave the go ahead for the pitch to be built at Orwell High School in Maidstone Road.

It will be a huge boost for the area's footballers, and also hockey players – with Felixstowe's first and second hockey teams having to play their "home" matches at Ipswich and Woodbridge because of the lack of an all-weather surface.

The pitch will be used by the school, but also by the town's sports clubs and at weekends by the community.

It is hoped the new facility can be built in the next 12 months. It is a joint venture between the school, Suffolk Coastal council, Felixstowe Sports Council, Football Foundation, Felixstowe Hockey Club and Felixstowe and Walton United Football Club.

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Most of the money is coming from the Football Foundation and Sports England.

Joe Liggett, leisure services manager for Suffolk Coastal, said it was the second attempt at providing an all-weather pitch on the site.

He said: "In general terms the project is driven by the need to encourage more people to participate in sports.

"The location of the facility at the high school means that the ongoing management risks are diminished and it provides benefits in terms of curriculum and community use."

Football was growing in the area thanks to the efforts of Felixstowe and Walton – recently granted a 25-year lease at its Dellwood Avenue ground which will allow it to invest in the future – and Trimley Red Devils.

The number of junior players has increased, and girls are now playing, too.

Mr Leggett said: "This has generated a demand for weekday evening training that cannot be met by existing facilities.

"Grass pitches are unable to take the intensive wear of weekday training together with weekend games. In addition most clubs do not have floodlighting facilities although some experiment with mobile lighting.

"The all weather area at Brackenbury Sports Centre in Felixstowe operates to capacity during the week."

The new pitch will provide extra facilities for hockey, too, which will enable the club to increase its junior membership. The hockey players would vacate one pitch at Dellwood, allowing further space for football.

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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