Maidenhead United’s plans for a new stadium at Braywick Park have been blocked after the council reconsidered its deal with the football club.
The Royal Borough had reached an agreement with the Magpies in April 2022 for 3.7 hectares (9.14 acres) of Braywick Park to be leased to the club for a new 5,000 capacity stadium, subject to planning permission.
But earlier this year, three independent members, Cllrs Jon Davey, Helen Taylor and Geoff Hill, brought the matter to the place overview and scrutiny panel, which unanimously agreed the council needed to reconsider.
And on Thursday, July 28, the Royal Borough’s cabinet voted that the deal should not go ahead.
Members considered 22 objections which were prompted by an Open Space Notification, a legally required form of consultation which went out in March, but some also expressed concern over the site’s valuation at £460,000 for a 999-year lease.
Jon Davey, who is no longer a councillor, but whose concerns initially prompted the rethink, told Thames Tap this week: “What planet is this, when building land in the Thames Valley is around £2 million an acre, that somebody gets nine acres for £460 a year? How is that value for local residents?”
An athletics track and the land used by Maidenhead Rugby Club would be lost if the deal had gone through and Mr Davey said it was unfair that the football club should get priority treatment over other sports groups.
He said he wanted more transparency in the process and argued that a local referendum would be a better option.
He added: “You have to step in and say ‘let’s evaluate this’. Even if you started again, you have to value it properly and consult with the whole town and not have this kind of profit driven fiasco.”
In a statement after Thursday’s meeting, the football club said: “It is fair to say we are shocked by both decision and the decision-making process which has been implemented, and the failure of the council to fulfil its obligations to the club and trust.
“Over the last few weeks, we have been engaged with both officers and members of the council due to the lack of clarity about the decision process.
“Despite this engagement and the importance of the decision, we were not even invited to speak at the meeting and yet others were afforded the opportunity, with their statements apparently simply assumed to be true.”
The club said it would take time to consider its position and its next steps.
Image shows the club’s current York Road stadium.
© Thames Tap (powered by ukpropertyforums.com).
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