Approval of £2m cricket plan

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A £2.1 million plan to transform a cricket ground has been given the go ahead after it was backed by councillors.

The project to revamp Bury St Edmunds’ Victory Ground went before St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Development Control Committee yesterday.

A report to councillors recommended that plans for a new cricket pavilion and sports hall be approved.

The project is being funded as a public-private partnership between South Lee School, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Bury Cricket Club and Sporting 87 Football Club.

Speaking before the meeting, Chris Barker, president of Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club, said he was positive about the plans.

“It’s a fantastic project for Bury St Edmunds. It will be a centre of excellence for the area and a real ‘win win’ for everyone,” he said.

The project will see a 1,422sqm cricket pavilion and sports hall replace the site’s existing buildings.

Designs for the sports hall incorporates four badminton courts and four changing rooms.

The pavilion will also have four changing rooms, two verandas – one facing each pitch – and a kitchen and bar.

A car park with 95 spaces is also included.

In recommending the plans for approval, the report states: “The proposed development will provide much-needed high quality sporting facilities which will benefit the school as well as local clubs and the community.”

Mr Barker added that Sport England had contacted him on Wednesday to confirm that it was in full support of the project.

The backing could provide further scope for funding.

“We are not far away from having all the funding but until we have the planning permission there are certain grants we can’t apply for.

“The Sport England interest hopefully means that there are other grants we can go for now,” he said.

The report recommended that the development should begin within three years.