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The Stadium
The Stadium

Stadium - Club Statement

Date: 06/12/2006

Grimsby Town Football Club are delighted a planning committee date has been set to consider its application to build a new stadium, together with a retail enabling development. The most important date in the club's history has been set for 25th of January 2007.

The Board are determined in their aspirations to relocate and firmly believe that the application to develop the Great Coates site is the only realistic opportunity the club has to move to new purpose built football facility. (It's now or never).

The new stadium will be known as the Conoco Stadium.

Salford Reds rugby team recently saw their new stadium given the go-ahead after just six years of planning. Salford City Council actually gave planning approval 12 months ago, but the government held a public enquiry due to the size of the 22,000 capacity stadium.

There are clear similarities between this development and the planning application submitted by Grimsby Town Football Club for a new stadium at Great Coates. In both cases the site was allocated for a new stadium in the local development plan.

Crucially however the allocation for the Salford City Reds only included a hotel as an enabling development to help pay for the stadium. Indeed the Secretary of State concluded that the allocation specifically excluded the retail element of the development.

The allocation in the North East Lincolnshire Local Plan for the new stadium for Grimsby Town however clearly refers to a hotel and retail floorspace as being appropriate enabling development.

The Secretary of State approved the retail floorspace for the Salford City Reds, despite there being no allocation in the development plan and despite there being no proven need for the retail floorspace, as it was accepted that the retail floorspace was vital to secure adequate funding for the proposal.

The inclusion of retail floorspace is also vital to the proposals being put forward by Grimsby Town Football Club. However, unlike the proposals for the Salford City Reds, the enabling retail floorspace is included in the development plan allocation for the proposed site at Great Coates and the football club have also submitted evidence that there is a need for such floorspace. The planning application submitted by Grimsby Town therefore accords more closely to planning policy than the scheme for the Salford City Reds.

The application similarly will bring community and economic benefits, enable improvements to community linkage and will deliver an iconic gateway building.

The Salford City Reds proposals were supported by all three Salford MPs who underlined the importance of the club because of the identity it gives to the area and also because the new ground would bring civic pride and lift the profile of the City of Salford. The proposals were also supported by the North West Development Agency, who commented that: "The development of a new stadium would provide significant economic benefits to the local community, would increase penetration in sport and would add to the regions sports facilities."

This is yet another stadium development (Huddersfield, Swansea, Coventry, Milton Keynes and more recently Colchester United are other examples) that has been granted planning permission with an enabling development to help fund the development, despite that enabling development being contrary to normal planning policies.

Grimsby Town Football Club is also proposing an enabling retail and hotel development to fund the new stadium, but with the added advantage that such an enabling development is in accordance with planning policy as such uses are included in the development plan allocation.

Mariners chairman, John Fenty, said, "Its Great news for the Salford Reds Rugby Club and Colchester Football Club, like Grimsby Town Football Club, they have both been planning for this for many years. Interestingly whilst the Salford Reds scheme has similarities to our proposals, it had a much weaker policy position than ours, even so their local Council, MPs, and Regional Development Agency as well as the secretary of state Tessa Jowell gave their support".

He continued: "This is just the type of support our scheme needs in one last push to obtain a planning permission giving us the opportunity to deliver the scheme".

"Our proposal's offer the same benefits to the community and the whole area as the Salford Reds and the Colchester community stadiums. Having completed the technical work and more, we are now looking forward to some positive news from our local authority".

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