£4 million funding earmarked for construction of new indoor sports facilities for Newmarket
£4 million funding earmarked for construction of new indoor sports facilities for Newmarket

July 10, 2024

The residents of Newmarket are set to benefit from a £4 million investment in new sports facilities.

The project is being led by West Suffolk Council and Suffolk County Council, and will also involve discussions with local sporting and community groups in Newmarket to see how the funds can best be used to improve sporting facilities. The investment could result in the construction of new facilities on land owned by Suffolk County Council to the rear of the former St Felix Middle School site – adjacent to George Lambton Playing Fields – creating a hub for sporting activity in the community.

Any plans will require a formal agreement between both councils and all necessary planning permissions and consents will need to be obtained and granted.

Although plans are not yet finalised, the investment would enable the creation of facilities such as new badminton and basketball courts, space for gymnastics and other sports and community facilities. This would be in addition to the already agreed creation of two new floodlit tennis courts on the St Felix site – to replace tennis facilities lost when the school site closed in 2012.

The proposal would see each council contribute £2 million to the programme.

Councillor Ian Shipp, West Suffolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, said: “This is an ideal opportunity to work with Suffolk County Council to invest in new and much-needed leisure improvements in Newmarket. No decisions have been made on details yet, but this gives us the flexibility to work with local groups and sporting organisations. We will begin with a meeting this week to hear their views and ensure they have a role in shaping the provision of future facilities. We have budgeted £2 million to bring forward proposals, particularly where there are gaps in sporting provision, as part of our strategic priority to support and promote thriving communities. This is designed to help improve the health of local communities and provide access to new and modern sporting facilities.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“Suffolk County Council is committed to returning the former St Felix Middle School site to active community and sporting use. We are working with partners to develop proposals. The proximity to homes and other amenities offers the potential to create a meeting place for people. This is a real opportunity to create valuable community and sporting facilities for Newmarket.”

Once the financial commitment is finally agreed, staff from both councils can immediately begin working together to fully develop the project. West Suffolk Council will now liaise with local sporting groups to understand their needs.

By Isla