THE board of Weymouth Football Club has withdrawn its objections on a move to relocate the club to a controversial new site at Lod-moor.
A U-turn has been made because the club wants to consult with shareholders on the way forward before giving its view, and will be calling an extraordinary general meeting soon.
It comes after discussions with developer Wessex Delivery LLP which led to an agreement that the club will not be forced to move from its current home at Bob Lucas Stadium without giving its consent.
It was previously feared the club would have no say on a potential move but ‘Weymouth FC’s destiny is once again in its own hands’, the board claims.
Wessex Delivery LLP, which bought the land surrounding the Bob Lucas Stadium in 2008, possesses an option agreement with Weymouth FC in that it can acquire the stadium in exchange for providing a new one nearby.
At the end of 2012, the company lodged plans to build a new home with improved facilities for the club off Preston Beach Road.
Plans have since been revised and are under consideration but have been met with a barrage of opposition.
Opponents included the club’s board of directors who said the site was unsuitable as it was prone to flooding and next to a nature reserve, and that they were happy where they were.
But a statement issued by the club last night said: “The board is delighted to be able to announce that, subject to discussions, in principle agreement has been reached with Wessex Delivery LLP that the club will not be forced to move from the Bob Lucas Stadium, without the club giving consent to that move.
“The spectre that the club may be forced to move to a new site, without its consent, is something which our fans have feared for several years. That fear has now gone.
“The club can now move forward to explore all options for its future at either the Bob Lucas Stadium or alternative sites.”
The statement added: “One option is to be relocated to Lodmoor.
“This is not the only option.
“The board has written to the planning authority confirming that it wishes to withdraw its previous objection on the basis that the club is given time to consult its shareholders so that it may then provide more detailed comment.
“The Board is aware of concerns about the site, and must discuss these in detail with shareholders.”
In a separate move, Wessex Delivery LLP has put forward plans to build up to 170 homes on the site of the Bob Lucas Stadium.
West Dorset District Council has refused the proposals and Wessex Delivery has appealed, meaning that the issue will be decided at a public inquiry.
Site objections remain
WHILE Weymouth Football Club may potentially change its view on the Lodmoor stadium proposals, it remains an unpopular move.
More than 100 letters of objection have been written attacking the proposals for the stadium which is earmarked for an old landfill site next to Lodmoor SSSI.
Weymouth Sea Life Centre claims the development ‘does not fully consider the impacts of operational noise, transport and lighting’.
Meanwhile, the RSPB said it was likely to have an adverse effect on a nationally designated wildlife site.
The Football Association has also raised concerns and Sport England maintains its objections.
Original proposals for the stadium and associated facilities were submitted in 2012 but revised plans were submitted this year, to include an additional risk assessment, contact with Natural England and the Environment Agency and amendments to the planned training pitch to comply with FA guidelines.
The application will be considered by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
THE board of Weymouth Football Club Ltd have announced an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) to be held at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Saturday May 24, at 10.30am.
The meeting is restricted to shareholders, and no entry will be permitted to non shareholders.
During the meeting, the club’s board will take the opportunity to update shareholders on Weymouth Football Club Ltd’s actions on the 2007 stadium option agreement.
The meeting is called to allow the directors of the club to propose the following motion to shareholders:
"The shareholders support the board of Weymouth Football Club Ltd in its continued discussions with the defendants in claim number HC13F04415 (including for the avoidance of doubt WDLLP)."