Brian Caldwell thoughts ahead of planning meetingShrewsbury Town’s Chief Executive Brian Caldwell is hopeful that it will be third time lucky when Shropshire Council debate the planning variation to the 106 agreement later this week.
Plans were passed last year for the building of a Lidl Supermarket on the site which currently the plan to vary the S106 by moving the community land to the training pitch has been deferred.
Shrewsbury Town have agreed to pay £65,000 in order to cover the loss of a sports pitch and Brian is hopeful that it will now be passed.
“We have our fingers crossed that it will be third time lucky”, said Brian.
“Hopefully we’ve covered every single base this time. The thing with Sport England last time was about the loss of a sports pitch.
“Planning allows for the loss of a sports pitch by mitigating factors such as qualitative improvements etc and we always felt that with providing the 1st team training pitch was a better pitch than the existing land together with the investment with the upgrading of the pitches that were being created at Sundorne for the first team - there was an improvement in quality for both to mitigate this loss.
“But, Sport England also have a figure of £65,000 to cover the loss of a sports pitch, so just to cover all the bases we have offered £65,000 too just to get this over the line.
“Lidl are obviously getting frustrated right now with the delays, but I think we are hopeful that it is third time lucky and Lidl can get their work started as soon as possible, because obviously time is of essence for them to do the work around the gates during the close season.”
Brian reiterated the importance of moving the 106 variation from the potential Lidl site to the current training pitch in order to allow Shrewsbury Town in the Community to grow.
“It’s also important that we get this up and running so that we can provide the community with a facility on the existing first team training pitch”, continued Brian.
“The plan was always to have that as a grass pitch, but the plan we were showing in our submissions before was the potential for it to become a 3G or artificial pitch.
“I think initially we want to see how that develops. Jamie and his team will obviously be running it in order to take it away from the club so that it was totally transparent.
“Shrewsbury Town in the Community is a registered charity, it is at arm’s length from the club, the trustees are all local people from various walks of life and it’s nothing to do with the Football Club, so by giving them the long term lease at a peppercorn rent, it is transparent for them to run it.
“If they decide in time that they would like to make it into a 3G pitch and it would be beneficial to their activities and the local people of Shropshire, they would then take steps and work with us to make those changes, but at the moment it is going to be a grass pitch.”