Council agrees loan to Bury Town Football Club for community project in Bury St Edmunds

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One of the final pieces in the Bury Town Community Football project got the go ahead this week with an ‘essential’ £200,000 loan.

The loan to Bury Town Football Club, agreed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, will see the clubmove from Ram Meadow in Bury St Edmunds, to Moreton Hall.

It will also see the creation of community football pitches at Moreton Hall to encourage youngsters and adults of all ages, to take up the sport.

The project is estimated to cost around £2.5 million although the exact figure will be known when tenders come in at the end of the month.

The Suffolk Football Association, and Football Stadia Improvement Fund have given funding to the scheme while the council agreed a £1 million grant about 10 years ago.

The council hopes to more than recoup its outlay by eventually selling Ram Meadow to housing developers.

Meanwhile the Football Foundation is due to announce its grant decision soon.

Russell Ward, chairman of Bury Town FC said: “I’m delighted that the loan has been approved.

“Hopefully if everything else falls into place, building work will commence soon.”

He said he hopes work will be complete for the 2014/15 season.

“It is a build programme of 54 weeks – so we need to get cracking,” he said.

The council meeting on Tuesday heard the loan was essential for the scheme to go ahead.

Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger whose father Terry Clements is on the Bury Community Football Project group, said: “It is not just about football – it is a much bigger project than that.”

She said there are proposals to build a secondary school next to the site, and said the project would be something for the whole community.

Cllr Trevor Beckwith, one of the councillors representing Moreton Hall, was a lone voice in opposing the scheme.

“What are we getting out of this? Not a great deal,” he said.

“Kids can’t come home from school and go and play there and adults can’t.

“As a partnership it doesn’t stack up too well.”

But Cllr Sara Mildmay-White portfolio holder for health and wellbeing called it a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to create a facility for ‘a great number of young people’.

She added discussions with nearby residents had been ‘positive’.