Football stands to get new home

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TWO stands from Scarborough’s mothballed football ground in Seamer Road have found a new home.

Scarborough Council has agreed that the East and West stands from the derelict McCain Stadium will be transferred to Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Club where they will get a new lease of life.

The Scarborough ground has stood empty since the demise of Scarborough Football Club in 2007 and since that time has been blighted by vandalism and arsonists.

As part of the deal Featherstone Rovers will dismantle and relocate the two stands and in return will carry out the demolition of the McCain at no cost to the council.

It is hoped that the site will be redeveloped for new housing but this is unlikely to happen in the near future.

A council spokesman said: “The council is progressing the development of a replacement football facility and the site will be made available as part of a package of land to facilitate an agreement with a developer to build the planned new sport and leisure village in the Weaponness part of the town.

“At the heart of the council’s proposals for the new sport and leisure village is the development of a brand new football ground, fit for the highest echelons of lower league football. That is likely to lead to the return of Scarborough Athletic who currently play their home matches in Bridlington.

“The decision to demolish the Seamer Road site will not lead to its immediate redevelopment. While the consent of Sport England has been received to enable the demolition to proceed, planning legislation requires that the council provides an alternative football ground before the Seamer Road site can be redeveloped for any purpose.

“This therefore forms part of the sport and leisure village project and it is a council requirement that the successful developer first constructs the football ground and leisure centre before being given the freeholds of the other sites for redevelopment.”

The site was bought by the council from the liquidators in the wake of the club’s demise. The spokesman said: “It has been the subject of continued trespass and vandalism and has deteriorated to the point that the risk of serious injury to those illegally accessing the ground was unacceptable and it could no longer be economically brought back into sustainable use.

However, the council always believed there was value in the two relatively newer East and West stands behind the goals that were in good condition.

“Due to the ongoing vandalism the council decided to demolish the ground in 2010 and competitive tenders were sought from suitable demolition companies to undertake the works. The tenders received ranged from £45,000 up to £66,000.”

He added that, due to the perceived value in the two newer stands, it had been considered to move the newer stands to the proposed leisure village development with a mixed response from six shortlisted bidders – some said it was unfeasible but others said that certain elements of either the steelwork or pre-cast concrete terracing could be reused.

“However, in January 2011 Featherstone Rovers proposed to dismantle and relocate the two stands to be reused and re-erected at their ground. In return for this Featherstone offered to undertake the demolition works that the council requires for nil cost,” he said.

He added that this was considered to be the best offer and the demolition of the stadium marked an “important milestone” for sport in the town because it drew to an end the speculation over the ground.