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Harleston Town to play night matches after go-ahead for floodlights

PUBLISHED: 13:37 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:03 01 March 2019

Harleston Town will play night matches after being given planning permission for floodlights at its Wilderness Lane ground. Picture: Antony Kelly

Harleston Town will play night matches after being given planning permission for floodlights at its Wilderness Lane ground. Picture: Antony Kelly

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An ambitious double winning Norfolk football club has scored another major goal in its development plans after being granted permission to install floodlights.

Work on Harleston Town's new floodlights will start in the next few weeks. A survey of light pollution at the  Wilderness Lane ground was carried out as part of the planning application. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilWork on Harleston Town's new floodlights will start in the next few weeks. A survey of light pollution at the Wilderness Lane ground was carried out as part of the planning application. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Harleston Town will meet FA regulations and in future be able to play night matches after its application for floodlights on four steel columns at their Wilderness Lane ground were given the go-ahead by South Norfolk Council.

Chairman Adam Mullin said the approval was the latest step in the club’s bid to become a more community focussed club integrating youth sides and keeping hold of promising young players who had previous left to join other teams.

He said: “This has been on the agenda for the past few years because what the club is trying to do is amalgamate the youth team of Harleston with the senior club so that there is a facility for all. We are trying to create a community outlook and the floodlights are part of that.

Floodlights as part of Harleston Town's plays to become a community club and work more closely with youth and community teams. Picture: Antony KellyFloodlights as part of Harleston Town's plays to become a community club and work more closely with youth and community teams. Picture: Antony Kelly

“It will allow us to play night games and even the youth teams will benefit from that. For the under-13s a game under floodlights will be the highlight of their year.”

Work to put up the lights, which have been bought second hand from Hadleigh FC, is expected to begin in the next few weeks with construction being done around a busy programme of home fixtures. The £15,000-£20,000 cost has been partly paid for by FA grants, the Football Foundation and support from club sponsors.

A fence is also to be build around the pitch to comply with league regulations and to allow it to be used for community football days.

Adam Mullin (left) at the opening of Harleston Town FC's new stand in 2015. Picture: Harleston Town FCAdam Mullin (left) at the opening of Harleston Town FC's new stand in 2015. Picture: Harleston Town FC

The club, which was formed in 1885, play in Eastern Counties League Division One North and celebrated a league-and-cup double last season being crowned Anglian Combination Premier Division champions and winning the Mummery Cup.

The successful coaches Adam Gusterson and Olly Watkins left the club in January to take over as the new management team at Dereham Town.

Mr Mullin said: “We have a really good first team and reserve team but in the past we have had really good players who have come through the youth set-up but not really had anywhere to go once they’ve got over-15.

“They have gone to Bungay or Diss, which are really good clubs, but really they are Harleston lads and we want to give them the facilities to play.”

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