WORK has now started on creating a £2.1million project to improve facilities at a sports ground in west Suffolk.

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The Victory Sports Ground, off Nowton Road, in Bury St Edmunds, is to undergo a major revamp which would benefit the community, including a nearby school and the clubs which are based at the ground. The venture, which comprises a sports hall for South Lee School and a community cricket pavilion for Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club (BSECC), is part of a ground breaking public/private partnership and will be run by a Community Interest Company comprising the school, cricket club, Victory Sports Ground Ltd and Sporting 87 Football Club and has the support of St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

The sports hall will incorporate four badminton courts and four indoor cricket nets and together with the new cricket pavilion will provide new facilities including six new changing rooms with underfloor heating. Photovoltaic roof panels will provide green energy and construction work is expected to commence on Monday, January 7, with completion set for the end of August. Meanwhile, trees have been taken down and a fence is also set to be removed tomorrow ahead of the building work starting.

David Barker, project chairman, president of the cricket club and vice-chairman of the board of governors at South Lee School, said: “I have been working for over five years on this project and we are finally under way. I’m thrilled after many years of planning this will become a reality.

“We have a 15-acre site which is now protected for sport for ever and a day and we will have a wonderful new facility which has been backed by the whole community.”

Paul Whittaker, chairman of BSECC, said: “It’s going to dramatically improve the facilities at the Victory Ground.

“I see it as the end of the beginning for us and we are now in a different push having secured the funding it’s now a case of getting on and getting it operating for the benefit of all the users.”

Building company Barnes Construction has won the tender to build a £1.5m sports hall.

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