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Game on for Grimsby Town community stadium site

GRIMSBY Town FC director John Fenty has hailed the decision to give developers an option to buy a site for a new community football stadium.

Game on for Grimsby Town community stadium site

Mr Fenty said he is “elated” at the unanimous decision by North East Lincolnshire Council cabinet to grant an option, subject to the necessary planning permissions being approved, for Grimsby Town and their developers Extreme to purchase council-owned land on Peaks Parkway.

Residents and allotment holders held up “No” posters at the meeting in Grimsby Town Hall and complained “No one listens to the public.”

But councillors were unanimous that the new multi-million community stadium and enabling housing developments will generate jobs and investment for the whole of North East Lincolnshire.

Mr Fenty expects 650 jobs to be created if the stadium is granted planning approval.

He said: “It has been a long time coming. I am delighted with the outcome.

He added: “The scheme has been through the mill and it has undergone rigour and transparency. Being a councillor I have stood aside. The outcome has been arrived at in the due democratic process and I am delighted with it.”

The director said: “The developers are very confident they can deliver the enabling investment to create a community stadium and leisure facilities that will make it a leisure destination and a reasonably large amount of affordable housing.

“A massive bonus is the raft of jobs it will create and there could be 650 jobs over a number of years.”

He estimated it could take three years to complete.

Mr Fenty said Blundell Park is “past its sell-by-date.”

He said: “We are extremely mindful of those who do not want it in their backyard. We have been thoroughly transparent and we have to deliver a scheme which is viable and there will be conditions attached if we get planning permission.

“We acknowledge there are concerns from residents and we can remove a lot of the concerns about the impact on the crematorium and the school traffic as all of the traffic could be taken on to our network.”

The scheme proposes a roundabout on Peaks Parkway and spur coming off the main road into the site.

Proposing the recommendation portfolio holder for regeneration, Councillor Peter Wheatley said it was the biggest potential development in Grimsby for a generation.

He said: “At somewhere in the region of £250million, this is probably the largest potential development this council has ever had to deal with, so we need to ensure the proper processes are followed.

“This area cannot afford to stand still in terms of regeneration and the developers have told us they’re very keen to help us develop our brownfield sites across the borough for housing as part of the enabling development for this project.

“As part of the planning process, we will now need to make sure people right across North East Lincolnshire have the opportunity of putting forward their views on these proposals, but we have been dealing with this issue for a considerable time

“We’ve always said we want to get the best deal for the borough, but this doesn’t happen overnight and it’s important that we consider all the relevant issues to inform any decisions. This is very much the next stage in that process.”

“We owe it to the area to do all we can to see a new community stadium built, within following a strict process when there’s the potential for public property and resources to be used.”

The report considered by members stated: “The development of a Community Stadium in North East Lincolnshire will contribute to both building a stronger economy and stronger communities. A Community Stadium will include the creation of new facilities for community use together with enabling development. A legacy of community benefit will be created, along with public health benefits and construction employment and training opportunities.”

And it added: “In order to enable and facilitate further investment by the private sector into the proposed Community Stadium development it is advised to be necessary to engender confidence in the deliverability of development by entering into an appropriate Option Agreement. This will be subject to external independent legal advice as to specific terms.”

Councillor Ian Barfield spoke at the cabinet meeting opposed to the recommendation and said: “No one in the world thinks it is a good place for a stadium.”

He said the proposal s not in the Local Plan and there is already a glut of affordable housing in the borough.

He said there were plenty of derelict sites in North East Lincolnshire on which to build a stadium.

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