Funding for new Stamford AFC ground could be at risk

The site for the new Stamford AFC ground off Ryhall, Road, Stamford Photo: MSMP021013-001js
The site for the new Stamford AFC ground off Ryhall, Road, Stamford Photo: MSMP021013-001js
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Funding for a £5m football ground and sports complex could be put in jeopardy if changes to site access are not approved next week.

Stamford AFC and New College Stamford had hoped to start work on the facility off Ryhall Road last week.

Burghley Estates, which owns the land, asked South Kesteven District Council to change a condition imposed when the plans were approved in March that required a new junction to be built before work on the football ground could begin.

Burghley asked to use an existing access point at Borderville Farm instead and finish the junction at a later date.

But at a meeting on Tuesday last week members of the council’s development control committee delayed their decision so they could visit the site.

The committee will consider the application again this coming Tuesday. Council officers have recommended the condition be changed to allow work to begin.

But the team behind the development are concerned that if work is delayed again they could lose significant grant funding, putting the whole project at risk.

Burghley estates director David Pennell said he was “hugely disappointed” by the committee’s decision last week.

He added: “The commencement of works will now be delayed until after the next planning committee in October when it is hoped that a final decision will be made.

“Any further delays will put at risk the huge investment by all parties involved and the substantial grant monies available to Stamford in creating this lasting sports legacy for the town and local community.”

Portable buildings have been put up on the Ryhall Road site and excavators have been spotted. But Burghley refused to confirm whether or not work was being carried out.

Stamford AFC hope to move into the new ground in time for the 2014/15 season. The Daniels’ current home in Kettering Road would then be demolished to make way for housing.

The first team currently plays in the Evo-Stik Premier Division after winning promotion last season.

A number of residents living near the Ryhall Road site have objected to the plans since they were first revealed.

Their latest concerns centre around a footpath which could run from Stamford Queen Eleanor School’s playing field to the new ground.

Residents fear the path, which will run along the back the back of homes in Kesteven Road, Masterton Road, Armley Grove, Turnpole Close and Losecote Close, could expose them to burglars.