Fylde RFC ground sale talks

Fylde's Woodlands Memorial stadium - grounds for development?
Fylde's Woodlands Memorial stadium - grounds for development?
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The Woodlands Memorial Ground at Ansdell, home of Fylde rugby union club for the best part of a century, could be sold to developers.

Club officials have received an approach from a so far un-named development company interested in acquiring the 13-acre site.

A special meeting of members has been called for April 1 following the approach.

It is not know at this stage whether the developers in question want the site in Blackpool Road, Ansdell for housing or for a retail concern.

If Fylde did leave it would mean a huge wrench, though money from any sale would fund a new ground for the club, which currently plays in the third tier of English rugby.

Club chairman Andy Hiles said: “We have been approached by a developer and as a club we have a duty to look at this.

“We also have a duty to be totally transparent with the club members and supporters.”

“What the club officals are seeking from the meeting is to be empowered to get on with this task looking at things such as planning permission.”

“We need to establish the merits- if any- of a move from our current headquarters and what alternatives sites may offer us in our standing as a National League One club with a deep rooted community background.”

The Fylde chairman added:”The club is reacting to an approach and has NOT gone out to seek a buyer.

“When it comes to any negotiations Fylde will be in the driving seat over what is best for its future and its members.”

Club officals have already drawn up a list of criteria it believes the club would need to attain if its was to move.

They are

*An equivalent or bigger site within a five mile radius of its current site

*A substantial financial benefit to the club

*The ability to established playing facilities which support and allow the further development of the club’s youth and community rugby activities

*The establishment of clubhouse facilities which allow the continued commercial development of the club.

*The accessibility to the membership of a new site

*Approval of the membership of any ground sale or move.

The current clubhouse facilities have been in use since 2005 when they were improved and extended following the sale of one of four pitches for residential development.

Supermarket concerns have shown interest in the land in the past.

The site boasts three pitches, a club-house, gymnasium, function room and a 3G artificial pitch - Fleetwood Town FC are currently using the Woodlands as a training base prior to the completion of their own purpose-built facility.

The Woodlands Memorial Ground has been the club’s home since 1920 - a year after the club was formed.

It was leased from the Clifton family estate until 1949 when 13 acres was bought from the Clifton’s at a cost of £7,000.