WORCESTER City remain “highly confident” of starting next season at Claines Lane despite delays to Worcestershire FA’s initial development of the site.

City plan to return to Worcester as tenants of the county association and the club has applied for grant funding to meet ground grading requirements.

READ MORE | How City's Football Stadia Improvement Fund application will work

That would be to complement the initial work which finally seems set to get going after the county association accessed up to £750,000 of loans from Worcester City Council.

But the delays and lack of explanation for them were a hot topic at a meeting for City shareholders last week.

One asked how confident the board was about Worcestershire FA delivering “considering they have let the (Worcester) Raiders down”.

“This question has been asked a number of times in our discussions with the council and the (Worcestershire) FA,” replied director Dave Wood.

“One of the things that has held it up is the number of conditions they have had to get through with planning but by Christmas all of those concerns had been signed off.

“They have engaged a new contractor who is driving forward to get this done so from their point of view it is all systems go.

“I am highly confident. You can never guarantee anything but my belief is we will be there at the start of next season.”

Chairman Steve Goode added: “I have to agree with that. The board has raised different concerns which we have put forward and as far as I am concerned, we were happy with the replies we had.”

Another bone of contention was City accessing grant funding for a ground they will not own with club bosses encouraging fans to see it as a “collaboration”.

While the improvements funded by City could benefit Worcester Raiders and the site generally, Raiders installed a 100-seat covered stand and the office and changing facilities and 3G pitch next to the ground are set to be put in by Worcestershire FA.

The required maximum capacity is 1,300 for City to be okay for the level above with minimum overall covered accommodation for 300, 150 of which must be seats.

City's current average attendance is slightly under 300 but blanket regulations account for one-off games where crowds could be higher such as FA Cup ties.

“My primary concern is to benefit our club, to play in Worcester. To be at the level we need to be we have to do something,” said Wood.

“We could say the same about Bromsgrove. We spent a lot of money on turnstiles and various things, they have benefited from it but it was to satisfy our requirements.

“I look it from the point of view of Worcester City. It is the Worcestershire FA’s facility but if we don’t do it, we have nothing.”

Wood also said: “People don’t know what that money (loan) has been pledged for, that’s between the WFA and Worcester City Council and we have no input on that.

“The WFA is the landlord and they have to provide a facility for us but as part of that, we said we would put forward a Football Stadia Improvement Fund application.

“It is a combined effort. Worcestershire FA will have ownership of the business and we will be tenants, which will include the ground on match days, use of the catering and bar facilities and a seven-day-a-week office.

“It will be our home and I want people to be proud of what we are going to do. It is never going to be Kidderminster Harriers or Bromsgrove Sporting, it is never going to be St George’s Lane but it is somewhere to start to build our football club again.

“We survived. My whole purpose in joining the board of the club was to minimise spend and get us towards a viable future and we are moving that way.

“It is not easy but what better thing to say than City are coming home and we have to ride on this wave, right from now until we play our first game.

“Everyone needs to get involved in talking about it and being positive about it. That’s not me telling people to be positive, I just hope they are.

“The potential we have is enormous for the level we are at, we see that at all the grounds we go to and we should be proud of that.

“We are a fan-owned club and now is the time to make our fan empowerment kick in and make a difference.

“There is a big investment in a community sports facility that will benefit many in Worcester, not just us and not just Raiders.

“It is for seven-day-a-week football with the 3G pitch the Worcestershire FA are putting in and all of that is a massive boost for the city. People investing in anything to do with sport is fantastic.”

Trust director and club shareholder Rich Widdowson pointed out: “We are owned by a community benefit society and all of this will benefit other people.

“That was the idea behind Perdiswell and with the WFA and all the other clubs using the facilities on site, we are playing a part which we are over the moon about."