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Worcester City Supporters’ Trust win planning appeal for new stadium

This is a story from the SD archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

It’s almost a year since the Worcester City Supporters’ Trust unanimously voted to appeal the rejection of its planning application for a football stadium back in the city of Worcester. The club have been in exile since 2013 following the sale of its much-loved home for most of its history, St. George’s Lane.

When the original application was submitted, both the Trust and club were joint applicants. Upon its rejection, which was under somewhat questionable circumstances where local politics seemed to intervene in a process supposedly devoid of such influences, the club announced it would withdraw any involvement with the trust plan to pursue its own alternate plan to bring City home. This alternate plan fell through in July this year.

Following on from that vote almost a year ago, on the 28th September 2018 the Trust finally received the decision on the appeal; it had won. With phase one to bring City home now complete, now arises the small matter of a ‘Community Asset Transfer’ needed to obtain the land to build on.This necessitates the club becoming a community owned club. In the past, this has been something of a contentious issue at Worcester City owing to what can diplomatically be described as differing views between the previous board of the football club and the Trust.

With perfect timing, the Trust and club are now in chime thanks to a new-look football club board populated by supporters. The Trust Chairman along with two life-long supporters are now serving as Directors of the football club, accompanied by a new Chairman who, to use his own words, would bleed ’blue and white’ if cut. In due course, the new club board intend to hold an AGM to propose a vote to shareholders on changing the club’s constitution to allow Worcester City to become a community owned football club in order to secure the Community Asset Transfer for the proposed site.

For the first time in a long while there is a refreshing air of optimism around Worcester City. Wins on a Saturday are no longer a veil over what felt like the unavoidable demise of the club as they were not too long ago. With community ownership seemingly on the horizon and a significant step being made towards bringing Worcester City home now complete, it is important to recognise the role of the Supporters’ Trust in getting to this stage. There is still a considerable amount of work ahead for the Trust and club so recent events are by no means an opportunity for respite. However, if it were not for the Trust pursuing the appeal and all those who personally spent countless hours orchestrating the appeal process, the club would now have no route home.

This is just a first, yet significant, step and one that is testament to the determination of the Supporters’ Trust and their appetite for Worcester City to return home. It gives hope that it will not be too long before Worcester City FC will be able to take its rightful place within the city it proudly parades the name of and, once again, call it home.

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