When – or if – work begins on the Vesuvius site in Worksop, the council want it to yield a sports facility for the whole community to use – not just Worksop Town FC.
Although Tigers have been involved since developers Commercial Estates Group announced plans in 2009, it appears unlikely that Vesuvius will yield the new home they wanted to occupy and control.
The developers, and local authority, will be disappointed by this week’s news that the original planning application is to go to a public inquiry, ordered by Secretary of State Eric Pickles.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed: “Following the legal hearing on very technical aspects of planning law, the department has decided to hold a fresh planning inquiry, allowing all the interested parties to present their evidence.”
Eric Pickles originally rejected the development in 2011, after a public inquiry, but his decision was quashed in the High Court this year.
Despite a fresh inquiry, work could begin any time, as a second application for a smaller supermarket and a sports facility has been passed.
The £800,000 worth of Section 106 money earmarked for the sports ground can only be released once work begins.
And then it’s up to Bassetlaw Council members to decide what to do with it.
A council statement said: “(The) current preference is for a sustainable facility that provides the maximum community benefits and can be available for Worksop Town to play first team games if suitable.”
That statement suggests that Tigers – who haven’t had any dialogue with the council since August – will not be the only occupants, and may not be able to develop the ground as they wish, in order to progress to a higher level.
The council confirmed they have discussed the site with a number of different sports clubs in the town.
And while council leader Simon Greaves says he wants to see Tigers thrive, he said the council can’t support them financially.
“The Council wants to see Worksop Town have a permanent base in the town and believes that a flourishing club, supported by junior and community football programmes can only be of benefit for the town.”
“However, since the Tigers returned from exile in 2011 the Council has lost £6.9 million from its budget.”
“We have to be realistic in that the Council is unlikely to be in a position to use public money to offer financial support to the club.”
“A sports facility for use by the whole community, including a home for the Tigers would be a great boost for the town.”
The council is exploring other funding streams to add to the Section 106 funding.