Friday, April 08, 2011

FC United plans new stadium in Moston

 Source: Place North West

 The club, set up in 2005 by angry Manchester United FC fans following the take over of the Premier League club by the Glazer family, is set to build a new ground in Moston, Greater Manchester.

FC United of Manchester proposed new and renovated community sports facilities and a multi-function community space on the existing 6.3-acre site of the Ten Acres Lane sports centre in Newton Heath, owned by Manchester City Council, which included a 5,000 capacity stadium.

However, the council could no longer support the plans and pulled funding from the scheme due to the central government funding cuts, but has remained working with the club to find an alternative site.

Andy Walsh, club general manager, told Place: "The council's executive is meeting to consider a paper recommended for development which is subject to a decision at 1pm today.

"We plan to submit a planning application in the summer and look to be on site in the autumn this year. The scheme will be largely similar to the one in Newton Heath but without the sports hall because we haven't got the budget for that. Plans include an artificial pitch as well as the full size grass pitch."

Within the council report, it said: "FC United is a member's owned football club constituted as an Industrial and Provident Society. The club wish to establish a 5,000 capacity stadium and accompanying community facilities, which they had originally intended to develop on an existing leisure site at Ten Acres Lane, Newton Heath.

"This report identifies the Ronald Johnson Playing Field site as the preferred option for the development and authority is sought to enable FC United and officers to undertake detailed site investigation works, consult with the local community and other stakeholders and undertake detailed feasibility on the potential development.

"The site is currently used by Moston Juniors FC and the council executive is being recommended to agree £750,000 towards a joint scheme between FC United and Moston Juniors."

The council said the majority of the site is currently let to trustees of Moston Juniors FC on a 25 year lease expiring in 2032.

The rent is £1,000 a year but may need to be relinquished as part of the proposed surrender and grant of new lease to FC United.

FC United is seeking investment from Manchester City Council to secure community funding originally committed towards its Newton Heath plans.

The club proposes to use a £1.5m community shares scheme towards the development, plus £500,000 from its development fund, an £850,000 grant from Football Foundation, Sport England and other grant bodies.

FC United has raised £1.3m to date from its community shares offer associated with the development of Ten Acres Lane.

The community share scheme involved investors purchasing £1 shares to a value ranging from £200 up to £20,000.

The club intends to keep residents surrounding the Ronald Johnson Playing Field site involved during the feasibility study.

Walsh added: "The council have been fantastic working to find an alternative site and have worked extremely hard over the last four weeks because they recognise the community and regeneration benefits the scheme will bring to the area."

FC United is seeking support from the council to enable them to meet its shareholders at a general meeting on Thursday 7 April to confirm the revised offer.

FC United currently plays its home games at Gigg Lane in Bury and has office space in Ancoats. The club attracts an average crowd in excess of 2,200 and plays in the EvoStik League Premier Division.

To meet the club's requirements, it is intended that the ground will be operational by the start of the 2012/2013 football season.

Broughton Park and Wythenshawe Park were the other sites being considered for development.

FC United is expected to submit a planning application in July this year. The club is holding its general meeting at The Central Methodist Hall in Oldham Street, Manchester, from 6pm.