Update on Stowmarket’s sports clubs’ goal to get new facilities – can the town’s high school help?

Stowmarket Town Football Club captain Ben Garnham

Stowmarket Town Football Club captain Ben Garnham

A headteacher has paved the way for sports clubs, which are in desperate need of new facilities, to train at his school – but only if they behave.

The teams and clubs of Stowmarket are hunting for land for a new sports centre. Although the initial search undertaken by the district council for suitable sites produced few possibilities, there is now renewed vigour for somewhere to be found.

Representatives from the clubs have come together – with one option put forward, by county and district councillor Gary Green, to extend the town’s Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre.

Playing fields surround the centre but are run by the adjacent school. Stowmarket High School’s headteacher, Keith Penn, said he would be willing to allow clubs to use the area, especially the 11-a-side football pitches, if they were suitably managed.

“There would need to be a two-way agreement that they are left in a state which kids could in the future use them,” he said.

“We cannot afford to have broken bottles on the fields on Monday morning. I can see that the clubs need more space, I guess a number of teenager sports club members are our students, so there’s no conflict of interest there.”

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Tom Barker is corporate manager for communities for Mid Suffolk District Council. He said the authority, which owns the leisure centre, was looking with its partners at the town council, to develop the school pitches idea.

He added another option was to also extend the centre to provide a new hall for Mid Suffolk Gymnastics Club.

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