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Published on 24 August 2005
Archived on 24 September 2005
At a recent public meeting to discuss relocating Stratford Town Football Club and the expansion of nearby Precision Antennas Ltd, council officials revealed that a number of sites had already been considered. Stratford-on-Avon District Council is committed to relocate the football club as part of the local plan, which specifies no alternative use of the existing site until a suitable replacement is identified.
The sites that have been considered are detailed further below.
"The football club has played at Masons Road since 1954 which is held by the district council as 'employment land' and consequently remains a valuable site," said Cllr Les Topham, the district council leader.
"Precision Antenna, one of Stratford's largest employers providing 450 jobs with an expansion plan of a further 150 jobs, hopes to purchase the site, but failure to do so could lead to them relocating to Coventry.
"This would have a major impact on employment opportunities for local people and potentially the economy of Stratford generally. The company employs 432 people, 334 of whom live with a seven mile radius of the town, 67 within a 15 mile radius and only 31 from outside the area.
"Masons Road is one of the very few sites available as employment land. The current lease expires in 2007 and renewal cannot be granted because any further extension effectively breaches government guidelines on the use of assets.
"We have identified Knights Lane, Tiddington as the best place to relocate Stratford Town Football Club following over ten years of research.
"I know that local residents are greatly concerned about this proposal but I want to assure them that further consultations will be taking place as part of the planning process."
Potential sites considered for the football club were (in alphabetical order):
Bishopton Lane. This site would provide sufficient space to accommodate the main playing pitches and associated stadia facilities. The Local Plan Inspector has supported the allocation of this site for public open space. The availability of the site would be subject to agreement with the landowner or compulsory purchase. This could not be resolved quickly. (Not owned by Stratford-on-Avon District Council.)
Bridge Town - site adjacent to the Recreation Ground. The site has sufficient space for development but the relocation of the football club would conflict with the designation of the site as an Area of Restraint in the District Council's development plans and some flooding of the site during high water periods. (Not owned by SDC.)
Bridge Town - community woodland and landscaped area, Trinity Mead. The site has sufficient space for development but land use has already been agreed and relocation of the Football Club is contrary to the District Council development plans.
Knights Lane, Tiddington. NFU Mutual has a major site in Stratford with sports and social facilities to the rear. Attention was drawn to a piece of land, which is currently owned by the County Council, immediately behind the NFU site in Knights Lane. Alveston Primary School is located on part of the site. There is sufficient land for the proposed development and for a community football centre.
Site near to Edwards car sales, A46. The site has sufficient space for development and was one favoured by the Football Club. The site is in both a Green Belt area and the Arden Special Landscape Area which would make planning a long process, with the likelihood of 'call in' by the Secretary of State and all other options would have to first be explored and discounted. Access from the town would also be an issue as there is currently no pavement surface nor sufficient highway lighting onto the site for safety purposes. (Not owned by SDC)
Main Street, Tiddington. This site is already used on a shared basis by Tiddington and Alveston Football Clubs, and for community football activity including training and competition by Stratford Town age group teams. There is unlikely to be sufficient space and capacity to add further facilities unless additional land was purchased or made available. The site's owners will only grant licences for playing on an annual basis. This type of arrangement would not merit any significant new investment and would not attract grant support from any of the funding organisations. For these reasons this option was discounted. (Not owned by SDC.)
Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse. The Racecourse would appear to have a very small site to the rear of the course, outside the main racing area, where a senior playing pitch and associated facilities could be located. The major disadvantages are issues relating to the floodplain and insufficient space. (Not owned by SDC.)
Stratford-upon-Avon Rugby Club. The Rugby Club are not enthusiastic about sharing their existing ground and facilities with the Football Club, largely because they are struggling to cope with demand with their existing capacity. (Not owned by SDC.)
Stratford-upon-Avon High School. This recently built school has a range of facilities for both school and community use. The relocation of the Football Club was sought as part of the original development but agreement could not be reached with the County Council and it is our view that the potential opportunity has passed, given that the school wishes to further expand its teaching areas and the existing facilities appear to be well used.
Warwick Road. This site is located close to the river and is mostly a former landfill area used as open space. Location, floodplain, and associated development costs would not appear to make this site a viable option. (Not owned by SDC.)
Wildmoor land. This site is one favoured by the Football Club and there appears to be sufficient land for both the Football Club and community facilities. The availability of the site is heavily influenced by the outcome of the Inspector's comments on the revised Local Plan. The Highways Agency is opposed to any right turn into the site from the current A46 trunk road. (Not owned by SDC.)
Wilmcote Football Club - This site was investigated with a view to potential ground share on a temporary basis. Wilmcote FC play in Division 1 of the Midland Combination, two Leagues lower than Stratford Town FC. The ground is kept in good condition and has a clubhouse, perimeter boundary and hard standing area and floodlit practice area. The main playing pitch, which is showing signs of heavy use, has no spectator seating, no covered area and no floodlights, and does not, therefore, meet the required standards for Stratford Town FC. (The site is not owned by SDC.)
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575