LEAMINGTON Football Club will not be switching to a new ground unless its fans back the move, claims a former chairman.
Brakes fans became concerned about the future of the New Windmill Ground when it was named as one of Warwick District Council’s favoured sites to permanently accommodate gypsies earlier this year.
And last minute changes to the authority’s Local Plan have seen a new ‘community football ground’ proposed on land off Gallows Hill near Myton School.
It has renewed speculation of a possible move for the club – based at the New Windmill on Harbury Lane since it was resurrected back in 2000.
But former chairman David Hucker insisted Brakes’ shareholders would have the final say in any relocation.
He told The Observer: “Choosing the current ground as one of the locations to be developed as a gypsy and traveller site caused much concern among fans who had hoped that, after losing the old Windmill Ground in 1988, the club’s future had been secured.
“The earmarking of a site for a community stadium as part of the Local Plan process has also aroused speculation this will be the new home for Leamington should a move from the New Windmill Ground become a reality.
“The final whistle has not yet been blown on the Local Plan process as an independent inspector will examine the council’s proposals, which will give shareholders, who have made clear they will not vote for a sale of the New Windmill for a traveller site, another opportunity to put their case.”
Mr Hucker said no details had been given for the proposed ‘community stadium’ to indicate whether it would meet the requirements for Leamington FC now or in the future.
He added: “There is no information around timescale, tenure or funding to allow fans to take a view on whether it will be a feasible alternative.
“At this stage. all we can do is speculate as to what the future may hold but, as a club, Brakes is owned by its shareholding fans and won’t be moving anywhere unless they vote for it.
“Giving up the security that comes from owning the New Windmill for a shared use of a community stadium doesn’t look like a good move and is one fans will need a lot of convincing if they are to support it.”
Other changes put forward by council chiefs in the Local Plan – the document, which will guide the area’s future development up to 2029 – include allocating an employment site on land off Stratford Road in Warwick.
This would replace land earmarked for jobs north of Gallows Hill, Warwick and that site would then be assigned for housing and the ‘community football ground.’
The consultation period on Warwick district’s Local Plan ends on December 12.
Visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/newlocalplan to view the documents and make representations.