Whitton set for Maypole return

PUBLISHED: 12:48 21 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

AMBITIOUS plans to build a plush new football complex at Whitton have been scuppered, but the area is still set to see an improvement in facilities over the next few months.

AMBITIOUS plans to build a plush new football complex at Whitton have been scuppered, but the area is still set to see an improvement in facilities over the next few months.

The former pitch behind the Maypole pub in Old Norwich Road is now in the hands of the adjoining King George V Trust, and is expected to be in full time use again next season.

In their glory days in the fifties and sixties – when they were arguably the best non-league club in Suffolk – Whitton United used the Maypole pitch for all their home games.

The ground has stood idle for the last 30 years. But as part of Ipswich Borough Council's sports replacement plans it is being brought back into use following the loss of the former Tolly Cobbold ground in Landseer Road to housing development.

Graham Emmerson is secretary and treasurer of the King George V Playing Field Trust and he does not want to waste what he considers to be a golden opportunity.

Over £40,000 has already been received from the Landseer Road developers, but at a meeting with his trustees tomorrow night Emmerson will be discussing going much further.

"If we can get the Football Foundation involved we can build up the figure to around £200,000," said Emmerson today.

"This will able us to level and drain the Maypole pitch and make it into the best in the area. We would also be able to build two brand new changing rooms and improve the current facilities at King George V.

"With the former bakery site that is situated between the current King George V main pitch and Old Norwich Road set to be changed to residential use in the Borough Council's development plan for the area it could well mean Whitton United's floodlights being moved to the site behind the Maypole."

Emmerson is dismayed at a negative response from Whitton and Whitehouse councillors to his plan for a new football complex on a site just outside the town boundary.

"It looks as though we will not be able to go ahead," said Emmerson. "The council, with sports development officer Adam Baker, have been very helpful over our plans to improve our current site and the Maypole.

"But they do not appear to want to back a scheme to extend house building at the former bakery site to include the current four pitches at King George V.

"The selling off of the land for building would give us enough money to build a brand new complex and have a full time groundsman. The area is deprived of facilities and this would give that part of town a boost.

"We will never have this amount of money again, and we must make sure that we maximise it.

"The income from clubs who use King George V field is just £6,000 per annum, and there is no chance of any great improvement with such meagre sums available. And the £40,000 from the Landseer Road developers will on its own just bring into play another pitch without enhancing facilities."

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