WEYMOUTH Football Club have now formally agreed to work towards their proposed move to a new home, after they officially announced a “spirit of partnership” with developers Wessex Delivery LLP.
Both parties attended a meeting with representatives of the Football Association earlier today to discuss ongoing planning applications for the current proposed residential redevelopment at the Bob Lucas Stadium, and for the development of a new ground. Both are now being backed by the club’s board.
A club statement reads: “Weymouth Football Club and Wessex Delivery LLP are delighted to announce that they are now moving forward in a spirit of partnership to explore all options in respect of the development at the Bob Lucas Stadium and a possible new stadium.”
Club director Alan Pepperell, who has been leading negotiations for the football club, said: “There has been very significant progress made in recent months.
“At the recent Emergency General Meeting the board received overwhelming support to continue negotiations with Wessex Delivery. It has been welcome news to us to learn that Wessex Delivery want many of the things which we and our supporters also want.
“We are now both focused on working together to explore every opportunity which benefits the club.”
At the EGM last month, 99.6 per cent of shareholders voted in favour of continuing negotiations with the developers.
The club also recently withdrew its objection for the proposed new stadium to be built at Lodmoor.
The statement also claims that Weymouth FC should not be forced to move anywhere they do not wish to.
Mr Pepperell added: “We are delighted to announce that Wessex Delivery LLP has agreed that it will not seek to relocate the club anywhere that it does not want to go.
“The club has suffered from uncertainty for years, but now we have a categorical assurance that the future of Weymouth Football Club will be decided by Weymouth Football Club.
“This lifts a huge shadow from the club. We are now in a position to support the applications at the Bob Lucas Stadium and Lodmoor because we are in control of our destiny for the first time in more than six years.
“We will continue discussions with Wessex Delivery LLP in many other areas. These will include looking at other sites for the club, not just Lodmoor, and working together on the design of any new stadium as well as shaping a sustainable business plan for the future.”
George Farley from Wessex Delivery LLP added: “By working together and in partnership with the club, we are putting together long-term plans that will set the club on a firm footing, and allow it to have a bright and successful future.
“I would like to reiterate the important point that Wessex Delivery will not seek to move Weymouth FC to any new location that is not supported by the board of the club.”
West Dorset District Council refused an application by landowners Wessex Delivery to build up to 170 homes on the football club’s current site last year.
The separate application for the proposed new site at Lodmoor has had objections from a vast range of bodies, including Sport England, the RSPB and Dorset Police’s crime prevention team.