ALVECHURCH Football Club admit they face a dilemma over future plans for their Lye Meadow home – which could have a huge impact on their planned new HQ, writes Colin Stoner.
The Church are already planning to switch to The Hayes, after being given the go-ahead to build a new stadium, pitches and community facilities.
Part of the funding for the £2million project will come from their share of the sale of Lye Meadow, their home since 1957, to be developed for housing but therein lies the issue – and the club want to gauge the feeling from villagers by calling a meeting later this month.
Though Church are Lye Meadow tenants, they will have a 20 per cent part of any profit because they own the car park.
A planning application is in the pipeline for 25 detached houses on the ground and car park, but there is also a feeling that there should also be a share of social/affordable housing but that reduce the value.
Chairman Richard Thorndike, who lives in the village, said: “The club will get a share of money from selling the ground, and that could be less if social housing is included in the plans because that is the economic reality.
“But we are very much part of the community and there is an argument that there should be affordable/social housing so that young people in the village have a better chance to get onto the housing ladder.
“We’re in a real quandary in deciding what we should support. That’s why we’ve called a meeting for everyone to have their say.”
The meeting will be held at the club on Thursday, April 18, from 7pm.
The club will get a share of funding from the Football Foundation towards the new ground, but their contribution will also depend on whether the Church have an all-weather pitch for the first team. However, the FA will not allow certain standards of artificial pitch higher up the leagues, so the club could require a grass pitch for senior games, with other 3G community pitches, which again changes the finances required.
The Church will have to find at least a quarter of the cash towards the Hayes project, which already has the backing of Bromsgrove District Council and Birmingham City Council.
Whatever happens, the Church will be playing at Lye Meadow next season.