New deal to unlock £1million stadium revamp

Councillors have granted Malvern Town FC a new 25 year lease which will help it unlock a £1million investment into new facilities.

The club has ambitious plans for the future including expanding the number of junior, girls and women’s teams that use the stadium, training new and higher level coaches and attracting better players to the first team to allow it to compete at a higher level.

In order to do so it needs to replace the grass playing surface with an artificial 3G pitch and upgrade its changing facilities to FA standards. Some £700,000 of grant funding from the Football Foundation is available but only if the club can prove it has a long-term lease on the HDanywhere Stadium to give it some certainty.

Malvern Hills District Council owns the ground after buying it in August 2014. Since then the club has been offered a short-term agreement to allow it to finalise its future development plans.

However, at an Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday (17 July) it was agreed to grant the club a 25 year lease which will not only release the grant funding, but also allow an application for another £250,000 of money linked to planning agreements, known as section 106. The club has also committed to raising £50,000 towards the project and the council will help with the design and procurement of the revamp of the changing facilities.

Off the pitch, it is also hoped the new agreement will allow the club to build on its range of community projects such as providing diversionary activities for young people at risk of low level anti-social behaviour, family fun days and holiday sport camps.

Cllr Paul Cumming, responsible 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.”

Chris Pinder, Chairman of Malvern Town FC, said: “From being effectively bankrupt in 2013 to gaining a 25 year lease on a brand new £1m stadium in just five years is a gargantuan achievement. The club has 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.”

Sarah Dawes