New £2.1m plans unveiled for town’s Victory Ground

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PLANS for a £2.1 million redevelopment of Bury St Edmunds’ Victory Ground are being unveiled at a public consultation next weekend.

The plans for the cricket ground, which include a sports hall and cricket pavilion, will be discussed at a public meeting at the existing pavilion at the Victory Ground, Nowton Park, on March 31.

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

As well as a brand new sports centre, which will be used by South Lee School, the novel design of the pavilion will allow spectators to view both cricket pitches simultaneously.

David Barker, President of Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club and governor at South Lee School, said: “We have been working on this project for more than four years now.

“We have without doubt the best cricket pitches in Suffolk, maybe even East Anglia.

“This public private partnership will be huge benefit for the members of the community because plenty of other sports clubs will be able to use the facilities.

“The thing that has taken the project forward is the borough council have agreed to move the ownership of the ground to the public private partnership.

“What this does is protect the ground as a sports facility in the future.

“That is why we hope people will be supportive and get behind the project. It provides Bury St Edmunds with a great sporting legacy.”

Derek Whipp, Headteacher at South Lee School said: “We have had a record here of trying to help sports in the community.

“I think this is something that we should be doing as a school.

“There are sports facilities in Bury St Edmunds by they tend to be on the other side of the town.

“It will be great having somewhere for people to play sports in this area.”

Paul Whittaker, Chairman of the cricket club, said: “The age profile of people using the ground is extremely wide - from five-year-olds learning to play sports to older people as part of the croquet club.

“There is an enormous range of people making use of it - it is not just for the youngsters, the football team and the cricket team - but the whole community.

“We hope to expand the range of sports that are played here and involve as many people as we can in using the facilities we will have.”

The ground are hosting a football match between Ipswich Legends and Sporting 87 on Sunday to raise money for the project.

The legends team will include former players such as John Wark, Jason Dozzell and Fabian Wilnis.