A former sports centre that has stood derelict for more than 20 years is set to ring to the sound of footballs being kicked again as plans to create youth and adult pitches at the site were approved.

Part of the Hollies Sports Centre and Social Club in Straight Road, Foxhall, is set to become home to AFC Kesgrave, which runs youth and senior teams, after East Suffolk Council gave the go-ahead for the new pitches.

The land that will be used is part of the 18 acre site that has already been designated for leisure use, although a two acre parcel of land has already been redeveloped to provide 14 homes.

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The peak time use for the pitches will be on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm and to a lesser extent, Sundays, during the football season which runs from late August to April.

The plans had previously generated a wide range of objections, with highways chiefs urging rejection because of road safety reasons, saying there would not be enough room to create the necessary visibility splays and not enough room for tractors and coaches to pass on Straight Road.

As part of the approval, planning officers set a series of conditions about the entrance to the site to ensure there were no safety risks or unacceptable delays caused by vehicles blocking the road.

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In a design and access statement, Hollins Architects, agents for applicant Suffolk Agricultural Association, said the plans would meet the Government's aim of creating more grassroots sports facilities across the country.

The architects said: "The government’s main aim of which is to create improved pitches, changing rooms and pavilions to enable more local communities to access these facilities and to increase participation among currently under-represented groups, including women, girls, and disabled players.

"Improving facilities will bring people together to enjoy playing sport in their local
areas, regenerate communities and enhance social cohesion."