Very well known Exeweb poster
- May 9, 2010
- Touring Central Java...
Where does the money to buy the ground come from?With regard to option 3, there are now no sites available for this purpose within the City boundaries. The Drivers Jonas Report initially identified about 12 sites suitable for a stadium but that was produced 12 years ago. Most of those sites have now been used for other purposes but the incorporation of wider activities would need a much bigger site anyway. Exeter City Council’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment would similarly suggest that there are no suitable sites available.
So, where would we go? The obvious answer is into East Devon as a great number of our fans come from the Exmouth/Sidmouth/ Honiton/Ottery /Cranbrook areas. For me the two most suitable areas in East Devon would be either Cranbrook or at the Cat and Fiddle.
I think that Cranbrook will eventually be absorbed into Exeter by a boundary change similar to the way that Plympton and Plymstock were added to Plymouth in the late 1960’s. Whether this would be done on an ad hoc basis or as a result of more general Boundary Commission changes remains to be seen. If this happened then the granting of planning permission would be much more of a formality by Exeter City Council than under East Devon District Council.
However we already have an established presence at the Cat and Fiddle and I have long admired the land on the opposite side of the road as being suitable for a stadium with extensive car parking. For administrative purposes, combining that with the training facility really makes sense to me. Every successful business needs to expand and the fact that we already have a major presence there would certainly help with planning permission. Nearby Crealy Theme and Resort Park is similarly forever expanding. Then why not us?
How would a move be financed? If the Trust stopped playing parochial politics and got to grips with the bigger issues it would realise that St. James Park is a very valuable resource. To my mind the Trust’s inactivity in not buying the St. James Centre is almost tantamount to negligence. The acquisition of this site is critical to the enhanced value of the whole SJP site. Otherwise the site is split in half because OTR not only own the building but also Red Square and the route from Stadium Way. Pulling the whole site together enhances the value!!!!! The Club already owns the Fountains Centre and the car park .Taggy has long said that OTR would be amenable to sell the St. James Centre. They even reduced the valuation of the building in their accounts a couple of years ago. I’m suggesting that it could be bought for circa £600,000. Finance that purchase by stopping the annual £100,000 contribution to the Club, it doesn’t need it at the moment! The “We own our football Club” slogan might then actually have some meaning! And what about the lease of St. James Park? Whilst the Trust fiddles perhaps it doesn’t realise that it only has less than two years to run! This is the opportune time to buy the ground back from the Council. Surely there is someone at the Trust or Club with the nous to negotiate a reasonable deal that a host of similar clubs to ours have done?
Then, if a student developer is prepared to pay £3m to £4m to buy the tiny parcel of land behind the Big Bank, the proceeds of which financed the rebuilding of the Old Grandstand, then how much would the whole site be worth? We are certainly talking multi millions, enough to finance the building of a whole new stadium! Additionally, depending on the configuration of, and ownership of the proposed extended development we could expect contributions from a developer or even East Devon District Council if they wanted to provide some of the activities.