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New stadium wins council support

Date published: 18 March 2010

LATICS’ new £20million stadium has moved a step closer after Oldham Council officially backed controversial plans for the 12,000-seater development in Failsworth.

Council chiefs agreed to push forward with a land deal despite pleas from concerned residents.

The council set out its tactics after the Charity Commission failed to rule whether Lower Failsworth Memorial Park — part of the proposed 30 acre site off Broadway — has charitable trust status which could make things difficult for the League One club.

The commission suggested going to the High Court to resolve the issue. But a barrister advised that the court would decide if the land was a trust.

Instead, councillors have decided to cut out this costly and time-consuming step and will ask the commission to deem the land to the north of the Lancaster Club as a trust.

Alternative sites will then be identified for a swap, with charitable status transferred to the new site approved by the commission.

Two residents’ organisations last night urged the Cabinet committee to ditch the plan, claiming it contravened local policies and national guidelines.

Warren Bates, from Failsworth Residents’ Action Group, said: “This is pubic land dedicated to those 240 who lost their lives in the Great War.”

Oldham’s opposition Labour councillor Dave Hibbert also slammed the Liberal Democrat administration for shelving his party’s original plan for a new stadium on Clayton playing fields.

He branded the current project a dog’s breakfast which should never have been allowed to go ahead, but added: “We support the football club and recognise the necessity for modern facilities.”

Latics unveiled plans to move to Failsworth in July in a move which divided fans. Some are still opposed to a stadium with a Manchester postcode and would rather see the redevelopment of the crumbling, and now three-sided, Boundary Park.

A project team will be set up to identify possible land swap sites and will involve local councillors and the community.

But the new site does not have to be the same size as the 8.62 acres of trust land which would be gobbled up by Latics. This is because transferring charitable status is linked to value rather than size.

Councillor Mohib Uddin, Cabinet member for regeneration, said the development would bring jobs and significant investment.

He added: “The leaders of all three parties have met with Oldham Athletic and officers and a way forward has been agreed in terms of working together.”


Watch this space?

Instead, councillors have decided to cut out this costly and time-consuming step, does this mean they have learnt a lesson i.e vance miller case or what. A project will bring nothing accept profit to shareholders and misery to the local people

Although I'm a Latics fan and recognise the need for better facilities, it strikes me that the Latics board are attempting to intimidate the council into bypassing due process. The Latics board and council have clearly considered the likelihood that by following the charity commission's advice and go to court, there is a very real risk the judgement would go against them and instead opted for a 'back door' route to try and force the plans through. Shame on you all.

Cutting out costly and time consuming steps, means they have not learnt their lesson-
They should take all appropriate steps, not skip over them because of time and cost
This decision may come back to haunt them - and the tax payer

Nice to see Dave Hibbert getting it all wrong - as usual. The Clayton sceme was dead before the Libs came to power. And in case Dave Hibbert is the only person left in Oldham who doesn't know. There never was going to be a stadium on Clayton fields. It was two superstores and latics were going on Westwood. (yes we are talking about sportspark 2000 and not the previous M&S/Tesco scheme)

This is clearly a compromise decision by Oldham Council, but it clearly exposes how wrong the Lib Dems were in opposing the Sports Park 2000 project 10 years ago.

Will it be easy to find around 9 acres of land, presumably in Failsworth, for the land swap? One thing we do not want is for this saga to drag on for ever and a day!

ombc railroading yet another scheme whilst ignoring the opposition!
are the blind by greed? the sooner they're kicked out the better!

Watcher - see my previous about SP2000. Also it is not a land swap, it is a land loss. The sites that the council want to swap with the memorial ground will already be public open space. Overall the public will lose Open space. I would not be surprised if Mr Bates or one of the Frag members puts in a town green application for the land.

Old_Mancunian is the one who has got it all wrong. It's interesting to see how a clearly cynical and biased person can nurture his illusions over so many years.

Thanks Alice. I grant you I am cynical after 20 years of shennigans from Latics. But I defy you to show which part of my statement was wrong. I was at the Public Inquiry into Sports Park 2000 and have seen the plans showing the stores and the stadium on Westwood Park. Have you?

Once we leave BP there will be no turning back. Oldham Rugb y springs to mind!! We will lose the jewel in the crown for a cheap looking lego style set up. We will be in the same league as smaller clubs than OAFC with no chance of returning to the big time. Staged updating of BP is the only way forward. BP is not as bad as people make out. Knocking down the Broadway stand was major mistake. SAY NO TO FAILSWORTH NOW.

Old_Mancunian is wrong. Sports Park 2000 may have been struggling but it was killed off by a political decision made by the incoming Lib Dem administration 1n 2000. Sports Park 2000 envisaged building a 20,000 stadium in the corner of Clayton Playing Fields overlooking Broadway and Chadderton Way. The Westwood running track option was a previous plan for a dual football/rugby stadium, put forward by Oldham Council, but rejected by the Latics board of directors at the time.

And of course Sports Park 2000 wasn't gong to be on Clayton Playing Fields because by the time Sports Park 2000 would have been built Clayton Playing Fields would have been somewhere else (immediately adjacent actually) because a land swap was the key to it there. That's what's so ironic. a Lib dem administration going for a land swap here when they opposed one at Clayton. Life's easy in opposition but when you have to make a decision that's good for the wider community, not just NIMBY backing..

Watcher - yes the Libs shut down the scheme but it was already dead. The SP2000 plan was to build stores on CPF and ressurect the Westwood stadium (paid by the stores). The Inquiry Inspector killed the scheme when she stated that a state of the art stadium "MUST" be built on Clayton. They had no intention of doing so as they needed the stores to pay for it. Labour sat on the scheme for over a year and even tried to blame the Charity Commission for the delay.

"Lest We Forget". Seemingly counts for nothing these days.

Old_Mancunian - Give up and stop digging.

Nice to see OMBC take its usual stance when dealing with residents, ignore then, insult them etc etc, they are as big a joke thanas the idiots running OAFC.

Actually, evceryones way off the mark.Last week, after the announcement I wrote several sections which was actually a letter Printed in the letters section on Thursday 18th which demonstrates how this & lots of other green space in all your wards, is PROTECTED under THE COUNCILS own policies. I have told OASFC this as well but both are frightened stiff of it coming out. Failsworth has only 60 Hectares of green space. the 30 acre site is 12.5H. Shaw & Roy'n have 1800H Why not put it there Sykes

So the council wants the charity commission to declare the land wanted for the stadium as trust land? Then it wants any land swapped to be deemed as charitable land? The charity commission cannot seem it trust land as it has already stated it's nature is undetermined. The last thing the charity commission will do is get involved in a scheme that will lead to it being subjected to scrutiny over the legality of it's actions. FRAG won't roll over and the council is a disgrace yet again.


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