THE future of Farnborough Town FC has been given a welcome boost after Rushmoor Council finally agreed to include provision of land for a new stadium in its planning brief for Project Connaught.
As part of this commitment, the Conference high-fliers will stay at Cherrywood Road in the short term and will go ahead as planned with works to meet the standards for the Football League. These start next month.
But in the longer term, this decision means that land will be identified within the current MoD area, to be used for a permanent home for the club, giving chief Graham Westley the perfect platform of which to launch his big ambitions.
Westley is working to a six-pronged plan, which states:
1 The Club will develop proposals for the upgrade of Cherrywood Road to meet Football League requirements.
2 A grant application to meet the majority of the costs of the works will be submitted to the Football Stadia Improvements Fund.
3 The Council will consider financial assistance for the upgrade if required.
4 The Council and the Club will work together to develop a short-sided soccer proposal which will improve facilities, particularly for young people in the area near the ground.
5 The planning brief for Project Connaught will be amended to reflect the desire for land to be made available for a new stadium.
6 The Club will develop a business plan once a site has been identified, and the club and council will negotiate their respective contributions.
Director of FTFC, Matthew Mills said: "This gives the Club the opportunity to achieve our plan by upgrading the current stadium which will enable us to achieve promotion. We shall be planning with the council over the longer term for a new stadium so that the club can continue to grow."
Commenting on the proposal, Cllr David Clifford, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Promotion said: "This gives us a clear plan to meet the club's and council's objectives.
"Relocation of the club is a difficult issue in a small Borough with little land available. This is a practical and sensible way forward for both sides. There is a lot of work to be done and detail to be agreed, but I am sure with goodwill on both sides we can achieve that."
Project Connaught is the MoD scheme involving the release of substantial amounts of land currently being used by the army in return for provision of new facilities and services for army personnel.