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Fairstead House sets out vision for sports hub in Newmarket

Fairstead House, Fordham Road (6776428)
Fairstead House, Fordham Road (6776428)

Plans for a new community sports hub on a site between Newmarket and Exning will be put before town council planners early next month.

The need for a new hub had been identified in the current draft of the Neighbourhood Plan, which proposed use of land at the former St Felix Middle School for sports pitches, tennis courts and multi-use games areas which would address the inadequate and outdated provision for sport in the town.

But at Monday’s meeting of Newmarket Town Council, the deputy head of independent preparatory school Fairstead House took councillors by surprise when he told them that the school had held discussions over the purchase of land at Brickfields Stud which could become the sports hub the town needed.

Michael Radford said that Fairstead House had been urgently seeking suitable venues for PE and games lessons. They were currently using the St Felix site but it was proving unsatisfactory because of recent trespasses by groups of travellers, an ongoing litter problem and fly-tipping.

Facilities as far away as Ely had been used by the school but the distance and time involved made them impracticable.

Travellers set up camp on St Felix playing field in 2017.
Travellers set up camp on St Felix playing field in 2017.

Mr Radford said he was putting forward the Brickfield Stud site as the best option for the school and the wider community.

He said the school had spoken to the stud owner who had indicated he would be ‘happy’ to sell the land to Fairstead House and the school had already produced drawings, surveys and plans for all-weather synthetic pitches, a running track, sports hall and associated facilities.

“This is a serious proposal we would like to make a plan for,” he said.

Mr Radford told the Journal that Fairstead House would be aiming to work with other schools, sports clubs and organisations which run after-school and holidays sports activities.

“It is our vision but we would be seeking support in funding and creating this exciting proposal which we feel would be of benefit to the whole community,” he said.

Mr Radford said he would attend the next meeting of the council’s planning committee on Monday, February 4, when the proposals would be considered in more detail.

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