July 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Plans to create a state-of-the-art synthetic pitch in east Suffolk have suffered a setback after a “sizeable” funding stream was blocked.
Framlingham Sports Club had reported encouraging progress in securing the £400,000 needed for the new pitch and its highly advanced third generation (3G) materials.
The move was hoped to offer greater training opportunities to the hundreds of members who use the club and could have seen work begin as early as July.
Now, however, committee members say the start date is unlikely to be met after one of the project’s required financial backers refused their application.
Syd Vice, the club’s vice chairman of 32 years, said that despite receiving much support from a number of key funding bodies, Sport England was yet to offer the “sizeable” contribution it had been requested to make.
“There has been progress made with a number of the organisations but more work is needed with Sport England,” he said.
“We’re going to try them again when the next application window opens and if that fails we will try to get it from someone else.”
The new 60m x 40m floodlit pitch would provide all-weather training facilities for the 23 teams associated with Framlingham Town FC, with junior squads also using it to play competitive matches.
Many of the other affiliated organisations, including the running club, archery team and possibly the croquet players would also be expected to make use of the pitch.
Club chairman John Carr said it would have also saved the club thousands of pounds in overheads that were currently spent on renting all-weather surfaces at nearby schools.
“We had hoped to have had it up and running before the next season so that we could have saved that money but Sport England are saying they’ve not got anything for us,” he said.
“We’ve applied to them on several other occasions and they never seem to have anything for us.
“I think that Framlingham is looked upon as just a small place in Suffolk and it’s always overlooked when it comes to funding.”
Mr Carr also said that the project would also benefit sporting clubs from nearby villages, many of which had already expressed an intention to hire the facility when it became available.
Having received encouraging responses from other funding bodies, including the Football Foundation and the Football Association, the club is optimistic the project will go ahead.
However, without the support from Sport England, neither Mr Vice, nor Mr Carr were able to give a likely date for work to begin.