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Question of the Week

Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?



Council in Dock #2

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 21/08/2000

One of the sites that the council's consultants are reportedly considering is the old fish dock near Riby Square. Nick Osborne has been out and about and has taken a series of photographs that look at the site as it looks today.

For those readers interested in having a look for themselves go onto the docks from Riby Square, go over railway lines, and turn right at the roundabout. Look straight ahead and there you have it.

Clearly, it is hard to imagine the possibility of a state of the art stadium when so much of the expanse before you is under water! But it does sound a romantic and tempting proposition with three fish on our shirts and a dock tower in spitting distance.

Jim Leivers' report sets out terms of reference that any alternative site the council suggests must meet including: "the site should be within the boundary of North East Lincolnshire Council; the site must be at least 60 acres in size and configured in such a way that a stadium, its associated car parking and enabling retail and leisure development can be accommodated; the site should be separated from any sensitive development by a significant buffer zone sufficient to mitigate any potential adverse effects for the development; the site must be capable of being brought forward for development within 18 months; the site must have high quality transport links to facilitate all modes of transport especially non car borne modes of transport".

Mr Leivers - in bureaucratic language at least - recognises the uniqueness of the football club's predicament and its place at the heart of the community by adding that the terms of reference should, "also address the issue of the enabling development being acceptable material consideration in justifying the exceptional circumstances of the proposal".

In terms of infrastructure and communications - excepting supporters travelling by sea - it can at best match the Great Coates' location. Although, my own experience being stuck in traffic on the Riby Square flyover, and not just on match days, leaves something to be desired! And are we planning on pioneering the world's first underwater car park?

A glance at the terms of reference suggests to me that it is doubtful that the site is large enough to provide the minimum 60 acres without severely handicapping surrounding local firms.

In any case, is it realistic to assume that ABP would be prepared to sell the land and risk land-locking their own business of prime industrial land?

And perhaps more pertinently, is it likely to attract the retail developments to provide the funds for building the stadium? I think not.

For what its worth. I think that we will find ourselves after this less than royal enquiry into alternative sites, back to square one. The club has looked long and hard and there is no realistic alternative!

But if at the end of the day, we get it on the docks, I will live with being proved wrong.

Todd Bontoft

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