Stowmarket Town have been boosted by the news that Mid Suffolk District Council have approved a £10,000 grant to help towards upgrading their floodlights.
The Old Gold and Blacks were crowned Thurlow Nunn League First Division champions after beating AFC Sudbury Reserves 3-0 at Greens Meadow on Saturday.
Stow’s move up to the Premier Division, which would be the first promotion in the club’s 134-year history, now hinges on whether they can make the necessary improvements to their floodlights.
The club received a major boost at the weekend with the news that Mid Suffolk District Council had given the green light to £10,000 worth of funding, which comes from a ringfenced pot of money secured through section 106 agreements with housing developers.
Neil Sharp, director of adult football, said: “We had confirmation from Mid Suffolk District Council only this morning (on Saturday) that they had granted us the £10,000 which will help towards it (the floodlight fund).
“Although we do actually need a bit more than that, we’ve got enough money in the bank with donations that we’ve had to get very, very close it (the amount needed to make the changes to the floodlights, estimated somewhere between £15,000 and £23,000).
“What we’re waiting for at the moment is planning permission. Mid Suffolk District Council planners have said ‘we’re not sure whether you need planning permission or not’.
“I can’t believe you do just to change lights. We’ve been granted it (the £10,000), but we’re not allowed to use that money until we get the okay from the planners.”
Although Sharp says he does not know what the deadline is for the club to make the improvements to their floodlights by, he is confident Stow will be playing in the Thurlow Nunn League’s top flight next season.
“It’s looking very, very good at the moment,” he said. “But the problem we have is getting it done on time, because obviously if we have to get planning permission it delays things.
“I’ve got no idea what the time frame is, I just think we need to get it done as quick as we can.
“I’ve got absolutely no doubt, one way or another, we’ll be playing in the Premier Division next season.”
* For more reaction to Stow’s promotion, see Friday’s print edition of the Bury Free Press.