Showground set for cash boost
SUFFOLK showground could be set for a cash injection to enable it to take advantage of its prime location on the outskirts of Ipswich.New conference facilities are being considered for the 260-acre site, off Felixstowe Road, as part of moves to open it up to the community throughout the year.
SUFFOLK showground could be set for a cash injection to enable it to take advantage of its prime location on the outskirts of Ipswich.
New conference facilities are being considered for the 260-acre site, off Felixstowe Road, as part of moves to open it up to the community throughout the year.
Research into possible uses for the showground has been ongoing for the past two years and an announcement on its future is set to be made by the end of the year.
It is also hoped to open up wildlife areas on the site for educational purposes, with proposals for a field centre to be established for visiting schools.
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Chris Bushby, executive director of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, stressed any development would not hinder the successful county show.
"It's got to fit in with the site but it has also got to be something people want to use, he said.
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"Anything we do has got to compliment the Suffolk Show. It could be that new conference facilities would allow us to host events that we haven't been able to do in the past."
The area of land under consideration for the conference facilities measures around 30 by 40 metres. It is hoped a new facility would attract private functions, meetings and small business gatherings of around 300 people.
Mr Bushby added: "One of the huge advantages of this site is the access, from the A12 and A14, and parking. If you have a meeting in Ipswich, it's sometimes difficult to park your car but you don't have that problem here.
"We're making a master plan to for the showground's future development so we can carry on putting on a good county show and maximise the use of the site."
Currently, there is a small conference facility on the site and Mr Bushby said architects would consider ways of incorporating this into any new development.
Both Suffolk Coastal district council and the Suffolk Development have been involved in the research process for the site.
The Suffolk Show is on May 28 and 29 this year.
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