Vice-chair defends club's expansion plan

A VILLAGE football club's vice chairman has defended his bid for a £1 million plus expansion creating a new clubhouse and seven pitches.

John Howard

A VILLAGE football club's vice chairman has defended his bid for a £1 million plus expansion creating a new clubhouse and seven pitches.

As residents intensify their campaign to prevent the major development of Stowupland Falcons' football club, Andy Taylor said that people should be proud of the scheme which is targeted for Rendall Lane in the community.

The organisation has been operating behind the village hall with just a few pitches it shares with others and is considering creating the new development on 16 acres of agricultural land.

Mr Taylor, vice chairman and the organisation's development officer, said they have been speaking to a local farmer about acquiring the land and hope to secure funding from the Football Association and other organisations.

He said they are aware some people are worried but have been looking into planting trees and shrubs to hide the site from homes, and footballers could use the far end of the field so the noise is away from homes.

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He added: “It has been questioned why we need so many teams. But for a village football club this would be a fantastic achievement, villagers should be proud of it and not kicking it.

“It would be a real boost for the youngsters and while we are looking into other possible locations within Stowupland, we do not want to move away.

“I hope that is not forced on us, there has been a team here for 100 years and we want to keep at the heart of the community.”

A planning application has yet to be submitted to Mid Suffolk District Council and officials have estimated it would take three years before teams were playing on the land. Building the clubhouse could take even longer.

But more than 100 residents packed into a recent public meeting to debate the plans and now those who are worried have launched a website - Save our Stowupland - fearing the move will erode the green belt that separates the village from other communities, including rapidly expanding Stowmarket.

- Do you think the scheme will be good for Stowupland? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk