Super stadium dream kicks on

Date published: 16 June 2010

OLDHAM Athletic’s dreams of building a £20million 12,000-seater stadium in Failsworth are a step closer after the Charity Commission gave a land swap deal the thumbs up.

Council officers wrote to the Commission to register a proposal to declare the 30-acre site to the north of the Lancaster Club, which includes Lower Memorial Park, be held on charitable trust.

The Commission accepted the proposal which means a land swap deal could now be reached which would see the charitable trust status moved to another site of equal value — in both monetary and amenity terms — to compensate for land lost to the stadium development.

Latics chief executive Alan Hardy said: “The club is pleased that the Charity Commission has made the ruling. We are hopeful that Oldham Council can now reach agreement with local residents for a suitable alternative site and we now have some important meetings ourselves with the council to make progress with our stadium plans.

“The stadium development is vital to the long-term future of Oldham Athletic.”

Six potential replacement sites have been identified and residents can look at these in more detail at a PACT meeting at Failsworth Community Education Centre in Sisson Street on Monday from 4-8pm.

The sites are the rear of 27-81 Alder Road; Mabel Road/Limeditch Road; Jericho Clough in Medlock Road; Vale Lane in Medlock Vale; Somerset Road/Coronation Road and Warwick Road/Leicester Road.

Councillor John McCann, cabinet member for regeneration and environment, said: “This is welcome news from the Charity Commission and we are pleased they have agreed to Oldham Council’s request to register this plot of land as a charitable trust.

“This means our current public consultation is now all the more important – and I would urge residents to go along, have a look at the six proposed sites, and give us their opinions.”

When plans for the new stadium were originally announced last year, local residents formed - Failsworth Residents Action Group - opposing the application.

Members collected 10,000 names on a petition and made leaflets for local residents as well as organising meetings with club officials to vent their concerns.