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Red card likely for club move

PUBLISHED: 22:05 31 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2010

AMBITIOUS hopes for an Ipswich-based amateur football club to develop a new centre of excellence could get the red card . . . from planning officials.

In a multi-million pound project to create a sports centre on the edge of town, Whitton United wants to move from its current home at the King George V playing field off Bury Road in Ipswich.

AMBITIOUS hopes for an Ipswich-based amateur football club to develop a new centre of excellence could get the red card . . . from planning officials.

In a multi-million pound project to create a sports centre on the edge of town, Whitton United wants to move from its current home at the King George V playing field off Bury Road in Ipswich.

It has earmarked a new 23-acre site on the opposite side of the Old Norwich Road from its present ground to beside the Whitton sports centre.

The move would enable the existing ground to be redeveloped for housing.

Eight pitches could be created on the new site where the club also wants to build changing rooms, a clubhouse, and improved training facilities.

But planners at Mid Suffolk Council – which is responsible for the land behind the sports' centre – have turned down the application and it is likely to be reconsidered early next year.

Ipswich Council is responsible for the existing sports ground, which the club hopes to redevelop.

But its planning chief Mike Smith said his department was unlikely to look favourably on any application to build homes on the current site.

"That is a well-used local facility for people living in both the Whitton and Whitehouse areas

"The sports ground does give an interesting gateway into Ipswich – that land is allocated as a sports ground in the local plan."

Mr Smith said the proposed new site for the pitches was significantly further away from the Whitehouse area – and because it was outside the borough boundary would effectively mean Ipswich would lose sporting facilities.

Martin Blake is acting for the club in its application to move, and said he hoped the development would be able to be completed within the next three years.

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