Stowmarket Town unveil plans to make big improvements to their Greens Meadow base
Stowmarket Town have been taking some well publicised steps forward on the pitch this season, and now the club is eager to follow suit off it.
Ahead of this afternoon's Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division home encounter against Ely City, the ambitious Suffolk club unveiled plans to make a number of improvements and additions to their Greens Meadow base – all of which it is intended will benefit the whole of the community.
Chief among the proposals – and part of Stow's five-year plan – is the building of an All-Weather playing surface on land currently situated to left of the current car park, which it is also hoped will be extended.
While a 3G pitch will allow the club to bring all 17 of its senior and junior teams together at one facility, the intention is also to present other sporting institutions from within the area with the opportunity to use it.
A new clubhouse and bar area, which will include club offices and windows looking out on to the main pitch, are also on the agenda.
More immediately, work is set to begin soon to ensure that Greens Meadow – where Stow have played since 1983 – meets the ground grading requirements for Step 4 football.
It has been estimated that £150,000 to £160,000 of work is required, with plans in place to apply for a Football Association grant to cover around £100,000 of that cost.
Were unbeaten Stowmarket to gain promotion this term – they are 11 points clear having played a game more than second-placed Newmarket – then all of the jobs must be completed by March 2021 to meet with FA guidelines.
Before that can happen, an extension of the current lease (which has five years left to run) needs to be agreed. Positive discussions have been held with the council and the Church Charity Trust, who co-own the facility, and Stow are hopeful that a 50-year deal will be reached by March.
Among the improvements needed for life at a higher level are a bigger committee room, new toilet facilities, a bigger changing room for match officials, the addition of an extra turnstile and new perimeter pitch fencing.
All of the work – which also includes the building of a new West Stand – will be aided by Stowmarket's recent success in the Buildbase Transfer Deal competition.
After recently making their pitch at Wembley Stadium, Stowmarket were one of four clubs to be awarded a £25,000 bursary to help improve their facilities.
* For updates of the game from Greens Meadow against Ely, follow @liamapicella on Twitter – KO 3pm. And check back shortly after the final whistle for a match report.