Bury Town FC ‘could move to athletics track’ and solve waterlogged pitch and ‘inadequate’ clubhouse problems

Ram Meadow's waterlogged pitch in 2010

Ram Meadow's waterlogged pitch in 2010 - Credit: Archant

Bury Town FC could move to the West Suffolk Athletics Arena and “solve” the waterlogged pitch and facilities problem all in one go, it has been claimed.

Following the collapse of a multimillion-pound move to Moreton Hall, the idea has not been ruled out by the club or St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who own the athletics track and Ram Meadow.

The pitch often suffers after heavy rain and last night’s Under 18 match was called off to protect the pitch for the first team games.

Councillor David Nettleton, Suffolk County Council member for the Tower division, suggested the scheme, which would see stands built at the athletics arena, on Beetons Way.

He said: “The Ram Meadow site is inadequate, I can’t see a future for the club at that site and they are going to have to relocate.

“Obviously I am very disappointed that the Moreton Hall Move fell through. The athletics track is an ideal site. They need to work with The FA to try and make the site acceptable, if that means building changing rooms then so be it.

“If after proper consultation and working with The FA, it still does not seem viable, they will have to look elsewhere.

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“I don’t think development teams should have to suffer anymore than the first team, it is not right.”

Both the club and the council raised concerns that The FA would not support a move to the athletics track.

Club chairman Russell Ward said: “The FA and the fans don’t have a particularly good view of grounds with athletics tracks around the pitch.

“It would take a lot of investment to make the athletics site good enough and I think for the fans and the club, the money would be better spent at Ram Meadow.

“It is more than just building a few stands – The FA would not be happy with the distance between the changing facilities and the pitch, we would have to get a clubhouse, a lot would have to be done.”

He admitted that heavy rain was an issue at Ram Meadow, with non first team games being sacrificed to protect the pitch.

He said that a 3G (artificial) pitch surface installed at Ram Meadow would solve a lot of these issues, but did concede the size of the site was not ideal.

“We had our appetite wetted by the move to the new facilities at Moreton Hall, but now we know that is not going to happen, we need to sort out what we have already got,” he said.

The council is currently looking at securing investment in developing the Ram Meadow site and Mr Ward has a meeting with them next month.

Councillor Sarah Stamp, borough council Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “No ideas are off the table and we will look at every option.

“It is something that we did consider and we raised it but The FA are not supportive of the idea. We are looking at all options and nothing is currently out of the question.”

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