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City chief admits move is Way off
6:00am Monday 28th September 2009 in Blue Square Conference North Table & Results By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER City have struck a deal with Careys New Homes to stay at St George’s Lane for three years while they look at alternatives for a new ground.
Chairman Anthony Hampson has admitted the move to Nunnery Way is not viable, particularly now the club are set to receive less than £4million for their home.
He is looking at two new sites to build a much-scaled down stadium and has also set a Friday deadline for two interested developers to make an offer for the Lane.
However, Careys are still expected to buy the Blue Square South club’s ground in order for City to pay off around £2m of debt to the Royal Bank of Scotland.
But the situation has been muddied by the relevation that director David Hallmark is meeting Worcester City Council planners on Wednesday in an effort to speed up the planning application for Nunnery Way.
City chief Hampson, who addressed a packed fans’ forum following Saturday’s 3-0 FA Cup victory over Bourne, said: “I don’t think Nunnery Way is viable.
“I find it quite frustrating that this deal hasn’t been capped off. I’m not quite clear why it wasn’t done at £7m. All I can see is our asset has halved since 2007 and that’s not a very good thing.”Anthony Hampson
“Careys are renegotiating their purchase price and the offer seems to be on the table for a figure to satisfy the bank straight away and leave the club with probably £500,000 over that figure.
“I have also negotiated for them to allow us to stay at St George’s Lane for three years at a peppercorn nominal rent which will allow us, should the Nunnery Way project fall by the wayside, to look for alternative options.
“This will be done in conjunction with discussions with the shareholders, supporters and sponsors.”
He added: “There are two potential alternative house-builders looking at making an offer for this site.
“The situation, however, would be that any new builder coming in would have to do all the preliminary research again and I don’t think the club has got that luxury of time.”
Should City proceed with Careys, it is likely areas of the Lane, such as the Canal End, would have to be closed to avoid falling foul of health and safety regulations.
Angry fans repeated their calls for the resignation of Hallmark and former chairman Dave Boddy, saying supporters would continue to boycott games if the pair remained on the board.
Hampson agreed to put a list of questions to Hallmark and will demand the director meet fans at this weekend’s match with Dover Athletic.
The chairman added: “It’s got to the stage now where we’ve got to finish the deal and I honestly don’t think either individual leaving is particularly going to make a huge difference at this immediate moment in time.
“I find it quite frustrating that this deal hasn’t been capped off. I’m not quite clear why it wasn’t done at £7m. All I can see is our asset has halved since 2007 and that’s not a very good thing.”