02:00PM, Thursday 03 December 2020
A significant hurdle has been overcome in Maidenhead United's plans to move to a new stadium at Braywick Park.
Last week the Royal Borough's cabinet agreed in principle to sell a 3.7 hectare area of land at Braywick to the club, subject to the Magpies receiving planning permission.
The move is still in the hands of the planning authority and is subject to the club undertaking a detailed consultation exercise and receiving planning consent.
But in principle the council is willing to sell the land at its market value of £460,000 for a 999-year lease.
Both the club and the council will now undertake further consultation with key stakeholders on and around the site before a planning application is submitted. Magpies CEO Jon Adams couldn’t give a definite timeframe on when that will be and stressed that while this is a significant step, there’s still a ‘long way to go’.
Concerns about the development have already been raised by Maidenhead Rugby Club, who neighbour the proposed development site, however, Maidenhead Athletic Club – who are set to benefit from the construction of a new running track as part of the plans - and SportsAble’s centre for disability sport haven’t raised any objections to the scheme so far.
“It’s a big step for us definitely,” said Adams. “It means that we now have a site confirmed for us to move to which is fantastic.
“It’s a huge step and we’re obviously grateful to the council for the support it has shown for us in making this decision.
“We now know that we can move subject to us achieving planning consent for the Braywick site for a new stadium. It’s an important hurdle but there’s still quite a way to go.”
The plot of land has been independently valued by the local authority’s property company and Adams stated that the council wouldn’t sell the land to the football club until there had been further consultation with key stakeholders and approval of the plans from the planning committee.
At that point Maidenhead United would pay the fee for the lease and begin the process of relocating from York Road.
“They’ve committed to a lease of 999 years for the land, but it is all still subject to planning,” said Adams.
“The local authority has been very clear about that. We now have to go through the next stage of development with the object of achieving a planning consent. At that point in time we would have met the requirements to be able to purchase the site. The council clearly wouldn’t want to sell the site to us unless we’re in a position to move to Braywick and build the stadium.”
Adams refused to be drawn on the timescale for the next phase of the project, but the club plans to do a ‘thorough consultation’ and move things forward as ‘quickly as possible’.
“It would be wrong to set a definite timescale at this point,” said Adams.
“But our desire is to do it as quickly as possible. One of the big issues which we’ve always been committed to, but has also bee highlighted during this decision making, is the consultation that needs to go alongside this.
“It’s going to be important and we want to make sure we do a thorough consultation through the next phase of this process.
“Yes, this means we can move forward and yes, I anticipate it to be as quickly as it possibly can be, but we also have to make sure we go through all the right steps in terms of consultation and requirements for a planning application for the site.”
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