£4 million funding proposed to create new sports facilities for Newmarket


Residents in Newmarket look set to benefit from a £4 million investment in new sports facilities.

West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council are leading the project, which includes talking to local sports and community groups in Newmarket about how to best use the funding to improve sports facilities.

The investment could see new facilities built on land owned by Suffolk County Council at the rear of the former St Felix Middle School site – adjacent to the George Lambton Playing Fields – creating a hub for sporting activity in the community.

Any plans would be subject to formal agreement reached by both councils and any necessary planning permission and consents being sought and granted.

While plans have not been finalised, the investment would make it possible to create facilities such as new badminton and basketball courts, space for gymnastics and other sports as well as community facilities.

This would be in addition to the creation of two new floodlight tennis courts on the St Felix site which have already been agreed – replacing tennis facilities that were lost when the school site closed in 2012.

Under the proposal, each council would plan to contribute £2 million towards the scheme.

Ian Shipp, cabinet member for Leisure for West Suffolk Council, said: “This is an ideal opportunity to invest with Suffolk County Council in new and much needed leisure improvements in Newmarket. No decisions on details have been made but this gives us the flexibility of engaging and working with local groups and sports organisations to hear their views and make sure they help shape the provision of any future facilities.

“We have budgeted £2 million to help bring forward proposals, especially where there are gaps in sports provision, as part of our strategic priority of supporting and encouraging thriving communities. This will aim to help improve the health of local communities and access to new and modern sporting facilities.”

And Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s leader, added: “Suffolk County Council is committed to returning the former St Felix Middle School site to active community and sports use – working with partners to shape proposals. Its proximity to residential homes and other facilities has the potential to create a hub for people to enjoy.

“This represents a real opportunity to create valuable community and sporting facilities for Newmarket.”

Once finally agreed, the financial commitment will mean staff at both councils can start working together to develop the project. West Suffolk Council will now liaise with local sports groups to understand their needs.

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