AMBITIOUS plans to redevelop Malvern Town FC’s stadium have moved a step closer after the club was granted a new 25-year lease which will help it unlock a £1million investment.
The lease will protect the future of the 72-year-old club which just five years ago was left on the verge of bankruptcy.
Malvern Hills District Council approved the lease at last Tuesday night’s executive committee meeting, a move which will enable the Langdale Avenue club to receive a £700,000 grant from the Football Foundation.
It will also allow them to apply for £250,000 from the authority’s section 106 pot of cash, money developers give to councils as part of planning agreements.
The club will raise the remaining £50,000 themselves.
Off the pitch it is hoped the agreement will allow the club to continue providing a range of activities to keep youngsters off the town’s streets as well as offering family fun days and holiday sport camps.
Chairman Chris Pinder said: “From being effectively bankrupt in 2013 to gaining a 25-year lease on a brand new £1million stadium in just five years is a gargantuan achievement.
“We have been given incredible support from Malvern Hills District Council and the FA and I can’t wait to cut the ribbon alongside them to our brilliant new stadium in 2020.”
The district council bought the ground in 2014 and offered short term leases to the club to allow it to finalise its future plans.
Those plans include expanding the number of junior, girls’ and women’s teams which use the stadium, training new and higher level coaches as well as attracting better players to the first team.
But to do so it needs to replace the grass playing surface with an artificial 3G pitch and upgrade its changing rooms to the required FA standards.
Improvements to the car park and ground entrance will also be made as part of the project.
Coun Paul Cumming, portfolio holder for finance on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “The success of the England team at this summer’s World Cup has highlighted the positive power of football to us all.
“We’ve been very impressed by the hard work and dedication of those involved with Malvern Town FC and their plans for the future.
“The granting of this lease is a demonstration of this council’s commitment to investing in health and well-being across this district and giving our residents opportunities to take part in sport and be active.”