Football car park sell off fears
A TOWN'S football club could find part of its site sold off to developers as the church landowners seek to have the land zoned for homes.Stowmarket Church Charity wants to have the land they own at the town's football club earmarked for flats and houses, in a move which would see the new properties going up at the front of the club on the current car park.
A TOWN'S football club could find part of its site sold off to developers as the church landowners seek to have the land zoned for homes.
Stowmarket Church Charity wants to have the land they own at the town's football club earmarked for flats and houses, in a move which would see the new properties going up at the front of the club on the current car park.
Senior planners at the district council have indicated that new homes could be acceptable on the brownfield site, and are within the town's settlement boundary.
The charity, which is one of the site landowners and gives funds to the town's parish church of St Peter and St Mary, has applied to Mid Suffolk District Council to have part of Stowmarket Football Club zoned for housing within the Local Plan.
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The Local Plan is a document which forms the planning blueprint for development in the district for the next ten years.
Colin Wright, clerk to the charity's trustees, said: "We are a charity and are responsible for maximising what we have, to look at making the most of our assets.
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"The money made from the land could go towards outreach or better facilities for the church. I'm sure needs will present themselves if and when we get the money. But this is at a very early stage and we do not want to count our chickens."
Chris Storey, from the charity's agents SB Surveyors in Sudbury, said: "We are discussing with the football club arrangements under which the site could be considered for development, although a large part of it is on a flood plain and can not be developed.
"We are looking at frontage land on the site and there are proposals which allow the football club to stay in place," he added.
Stowmarket Football Club has 300 family members. It is used seven nights a week and is also home to pigeon clubs and a youth club.
John Bultitude, club president, said: "We want to stay where we are and the church is very willing to work with the club to get what they want and the football club would not lose its pitch, we would basically just lose our car park.
"The church is offering to put a new slip road in to the site and if someone can come up with an agreement that suits everybody, we will have no strong, major objections."
Barry Salmon, town mayor, said he understands there is pressure for new homes locally, but he would not want to see any proposals meaning
the club would have to move.
Stephen Andrews, Local Plan manager with the district council, said those affected will have the chance to discuss the plans further and any development on the site would be a long way off.