New Stadium – WDC allocate funds for design

Extra funds have been allocated to allow preliminary designs to be drawn up for Leamington’s Community Stadium.

Members of Warwick District Council’s executive agreed a sum of up to £345,460 from the sale from the sale of land fronting Gallows Hill. That money will now fund the design work on the stadium and cover the cost of managing and maintaining Heathcote Hill Farmhouse and associated land for the remainder of the financial year.

Councillors also agreed that a further report be compiled in the spring to determine the financial feasibility of the project.

It is intended that the 5,000 capacity stadium would be the new home for Leamington FC allowing their current ground on Harbury Lane to be developed as a gypsy and traveller site.

Other developments on the site would see an all-weather artificial grass pitch for community use along with gym/studio space and bar/catering/coffee shop provision. It is also planned to relocate the running track from Edmondscote.

The council acquired the five acre Gallows Hill plot from Warwickshire County Council in December 2018.

A report to the executive committee explained some of the risks associated with not granting the extra funds.

It explained: “If the funding is not made available then the work with the design team will not be able to progress and the project will be halted. That will mean that none of the wider benefits of the project would be able to be achieved.

“If the project does not progress then the council will face issues and financial pressures in the future about funding improvements that are needed to keep the athletics track operational. If the track is not relocated then the proposal to create a new riverside park will not be possible and decisions would be needed on the future provision of an athletics track in the district, as the current track will need complete replacement in the next five years or so.”

It added that the council would also be without a viable gypsy and traveller site.

Jan Matecki (Con, Budbrooke), the portfolio holder for housing and property, said: “This is an absolutely tremendously exciting project. There has been some initial work done with the initial layout of the plans and we have to firm them up now.

“There are problems with land ownership and access to the land and that’s what we are trying to do in the next stage. Ecology, archaeology and drainage can all be analysed to make sure there are no nasty hic-cups at the end.

“At the moment it is getting all the jigsaw pieces in one place so that we can deliver what we actually want.”

Local Democracy Reporter David Lawrence Leamington Courier 15th July 2020.
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