Council first mooted relocation of United location mooted by council

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 06/12 11:24

COUNCIL officers rather than Redditch United bosses suggested relocating the club, the former borough council leader has claimed.

Coun Carole Gandy said she had been taken to the Washford site, which chairman Chris Swan is proposing the football club moves to, shortly after she became leader in 2010 - before Mr Swan took over.

Speaking at an overview and scrutiny meeting on Tuesday (December 3) where it was decided to set up a task and finish group to discuss the future of RUFC, she said she had been told it was the council's wish long-term for the club to leave the Valley Stadium off Bromsgrove Road, which would then be sold for housing.

"That was conveyed in discussions with Ken Rae, who was chair at the time. I would not be surprised if that information wasn't conveyed to the new management when they came in. It was not as far as I know a secret," she said.

"There are some things that appear on the papers with regards to the reasons why the council doesn't want to consider this proposal that I don't understand because they would have been the same issues in 2010/11. If there were issues then why were we pushing this then?

"I would like to know from the officers whether in principle they support moving at all. If they don't and the controlling group don't, we might as well pack our bags and go home. There is no point in having further discussions if a decision has already been taken Redditch United is not going to be offered any piece of land anywhere ever."

Her comments came after a presentation from Mr Swan, during which he alleged it had been decided in 2012 upgrading the current club was not a sustainable option and council officers suggested the relocation. He produced copies of two Redditch Borough Council plans for a new stadium, both drawn up in August last year, which preceded the current RUFC plans drawn up by Dutch Architecture.

Coun Greg Chance said: "Everyone wants the same thing here. Hopefully overview and scrutiny will be able to provide some positive recommendations to move things forwards.

"Over the years, the council has spent a lot of time trying to help the club achieve its ambitions and the problems with the current proposal will not change that.

"The fact remains that the council could only work on a business case that stacks up and that would withstand full public and legal scrutiny."

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