Football club plans £80k ground improvements - but future location is still uncertain
PUBLISHED: 12:59 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 19 January 2020
A market town's football club is looking to make upgrades to its ground that would see seating capacity increase by 40%.
Ram Meadow has been Bury Town's home since 1978, but for some time the stadium has been earmarked for housing and car parking by its landowner West Suffolk Council.
A planning application has been submitted by the non-league club for new floodlights as well as a new stand with 150 individual plastic seats - a project that is estimated to cost £80,000.
READ MORE: Bury Town FC still hopeful of leaving unfit Ram Meadow despite plans for £100k clubhouse
While the long-term future of the ground remains uncertain, board member Chris Ward said as they are there for the foreseeable future they need to continue to make improvements.
The club has already rebuilt the out-dated clubhouse and revamped the changing rooms.
The new east stand would increase seating capacity from 150 to 210 and the new floodlights would be better for viewing spectators as there wouldn't be obstructing pillars.
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Mr Ward said: "As far as we are concerned we are here until we are told otherwise. There are no concrete plans to move.
"A modern metal stand would have plastic seats as opposed to wooden benches which we have currently got. We just want to update it to something modern and easier to maintain."
Both the stand and floodlights could be dismantled and taken to a new site if they needed to move location, Mr Ward said.
The whole project is estimated to cost about £80,000 but Mr Ward said if planing permission is approved they can apply for funding to cover a large chunk.
"We need to get the planning and then need to get the grant. If all of these conditions are met we will do the work in the summer ready for next season."
Plans for the club, in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division, to move to the outskirts of town, at Moreton Hall, fell through after Suffolk FA withdrew £250,000 of funding in October 2014.
Mr Ward, who believes an out-of-town site would have made it more difficult for supporters to get there, said there seemed to be no options currently for a new site to replace Ram Meadow.
A West Suffolk Council spokesman said: "We continue to support Bury Town FC in its ambitions to grow and develop. The council is committed to working with the club to ensure it has a home that meets its needs, now and in the future."