WORCESTER City’s dream of creating a “community” stadium could be over after the group behind the plans lost its “negotiation power” to build on Perdiswell Park.
The club’s supporters’ trust, which put forward the application for a 4,100 ground, suffered a major setback on Thursday night when a “vital” bid to make City a community benefit society was turned down.
Trust secretary Rob Crean said the move would have helped raise the capital for the stadium and boosted negotiations with Worcester City Council to use the land.
However, supporters’ hopes were dashed when shareholders voted against the proposed changes to City’s constitution at the club’s general meeting.
The news has also led to fresh calls from protesters for the “controversial” application to be withdrawn.
Mr Crean said the trust were still keen to “drive” the plans, which were submitted more than two years ago, to a “resolution”.
But he admitted the outcome of the vote, which sparked anger from City fans, had left them in a “difficult” position.
“What we were trying to do was to provide a mechanism where we could go to the council as a community-owned club and say, ‘This is the best way for us to discuss Perdiswell,” he said.
“If the application was successful, we could have talked (to the council) about a community asset transfer of the land but now that won’t happen.
“So we have got no negotiation power with the council at all expect for (City chairman) Anthony Hampson’s previous statements that we should go there and hold their feet to the fire.
“But we have got no bargaining chips, so why would they listen?”
Jason Marshall, of Protect Perdiswell Park, which have been campaigning hard to stop the plans, has sent an open letter to City and the trust urging them to remove their application.
“The supporters’ trust has always stated this as a vital aspect of fulfilling this plan that they conceived,” he said.
“This ambitious but controversial bid failed to unite the community.
“More crucially, it failed to unite those who own and support Worcester City FC.
“The controlling interests will now determine the club’s future as a limited company, in which the Perdiswell stadium proposal can have no place.
“Please withdraw the application and make clear to the people of Worcester, whatever their views, that a stadium on Perdiswell cannot and will not happen.”
The club have been in exile since leaving St George’s Lane in 2013 and will play at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground next season.
In May, the Worcester News revealed how the city council's new Labour leadership had launched a cross-party working group to consider different options to Perdiswell.