Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
City and St Modwen agree new plan for Nunnery Way stadium
6:30pm Friday 8th July 2011 in Sport
Worcester City have performed a dramatic U-turn and are now committed to taking the club debt-free to Nunnery Way.
Last October, the St George’s Lane outfit stated they could not afford a move with property developer St Modwen and withdrew their support for the planning application to Worcester City Council.
However, with no way out of the contract inherited from Dave Boddy’s regime, which ties them to such a move until 2017, the club’s board, under chairman Anthony Hampson, have been forced into a major re-think.
They now believe they have found a way of bridging the £1.5million funding gap to build a stadium to Blue Square Bet North standard in time for when they leave the Lane in June 2013.
The plan is still to construct a scaled-down 556-seat main stand, and a 1,600 covered terrace behind one goal, with a total capacity of 3,226.
St Modwen have submitted those revisions to Guildhall officials but the cost will be greatly reduced from around £2million to £600,000.
This will be achieved by using modular materials — prefabricated buildings — and City are hopeful of changing the materials if planning permission is granted.
A pedestrian crossing instead of a footbridge over the dual carriageway is also now part of the plans.
Infrastructure remains at £1.26m, leaving the club with an overall bill of just over £1.8m — significantly reduced from the £3.26m quoted just nine months ago.
It will be funded by money left from selling the Lane to Careys New Homes — around £1.5m — while City will also apply to the Football Foundation for a £150,000 grant.
Notably, there will also be a £500,000 advance from St Modwen on enabling profits from offices and car showrooms the firm plan for the 20-acre site.
Although effectively a loan, City would only have to pay the money back if their share of enabling profit went over £500,000, plus any interest accrued between 2013 and when St Modwen eventually build.
The St George’s Lane club are also planning to embark on a fund-raising programme to replace the modular structures with brick buildings later down the line.
Vice-chairman Andrew Watson said City had explored “every avenue” and believed this was “the best practical solution” to keep football in Worcester and avoid a future ground-share.
A statement explained: “A series of meetings have taken place between the club and St Modwen over the last few months.
“During this process, investigations have led to a review into how the new football stadium could be delivered through the use of modular method construction techniques which can lead to significant savings that can be integrated into the scheme.
“This can be achieved while still complying with the ground grading regulations and providing facilities comparable with other clubs in the Football Conference.
“This can take place without compromise to the green and sustainable ambitions contained in the planning application.
“Following these discussions with St Modwen, we now feel able to report, as a board, that we can deliver a vibrant economically viable, debt-free, football club for the city of Worcester.”