CITY chairman Steve Goode has welcomed plans for a new hockey stadium – and urged council chiefs to show similar support for the bid to bring the Blue and Whites back to Worcester.
The City chief was on hand to see councillors approve the lease of greenbelt land off Droitwich Road to Worcester Hockey Club and the Royal Grammar School for a new state-of-the-art hockey centre and associated facilities. It still needs planning permission.
Members of the city council’s policy and resources committee acknowledged the council would forgo the opportunity to sell the site which has a value of £135,000, instead transferring the land on a 30-year lease at a peppercorn rent, normally £1 per year.
In addition, following completion of the development, the city council will then re-finance the expected build costs of £2.5million granting a 30-year loan to the joint venture company.
Goode now wants to see a similar level of support offer to end the club’s six-year exile from the Faithful City since its St George’s Lane home closed in 2013.
Worcester City FC and Worcester City FC Supporters Trust gained planning permission on appeal in September 2018 to build a community ground on land owned by the city council next to the new swimming pool on Bilford Road.
The new hockey venue is less than a mile away from the much-debated site and Goode said he welcomed another sporting addition to the area.
“It is great to see the council being so supportive of a new sports venue for the city. Whilst there has been some criticism, I welcome the new scheme which adds another sporting activity to the emerging sports village at Perdiswell,” he said.
“While it is a real shame a full-sized football pitch and a junior pitch will be lost as a result of the development, the report reinforces the council’s commitment to a football hub at Perdiswell, where the football club are well placed to deliver a new community facility and 3G pitch.
“Discussions are on-going with council members regarding the Perdiswell scheme and we would welcome a similar level of support for the football facility as they are offering the Hockey Joint Venture.
“After all football is our national sport.”
City have been playing their home games at Kidderminster Harriers and Bromsgrove Sporting since the sale of St George’s Lane.
Sporting’s Victoria Ground will remain their home for a fourth successive season next term.
A recent change in constitution means the football club is now majority owned by its fans represented by the Supporters Trust, a community benefit society.