AFT STATEMENT 19th September 2017
The Board of the Argyle Fans’ Trust has voted reluctantly but with overwhelming majority to submit an objection to the hybrid planning application for the grandstand refurbishment and Higher Home Park. This is not a decision that has been taken lightly. Its main reasons are:
- The application appears to be in contradiction of the Asset of Community Value status which the Trust obtained in 2016 to protect the whole of the Home Park site for the continued well-being of the Club and the community. It is not obvious how the proposed, large-scale office block, for example, meets these criteria.
- The development tries to pack a lot into an extremely small space which could be highly detrimental to supporter parking on match days. This is of particular concern for our disabled supporters whom we value highly and who must be adequately catered for.
- It is likely that the number and size of the buildings proposed to be sited on HHP would render it extremely difficult to make any further structural changes to the grandstand or to extend the capacity beyond 20,000.
- There is a lack of clarity in the plans about exactly how the Club would profit from the HHP development (given the previously stated promise of 50% of profits from the land
- The clear majority of members submitting opinions have expressed concerns about the proposed redevelopment.
Had the planning permission been sought separately for the Grandstand and for HHP, the Trust would have had no difficulty in supporting the proposals for the redevelopment of the stadium.
The AFT remains keen to liaise with the Club as it has done throughout the entire process. We would like to place on record that our application to be part of the Grandstand Working Group at the start of the year was declined. However, we would still be willing to be part of any future discussions on the subject.
While we would have preferred to have been able fully to ballot our membership before making our submission to PCC, the short notice given for comment made it extremely difficult to do so but we did inform members how they could express their opinions to us. However, in a survey of Argyle fans in 2013, 92% of respondents were in favour of the Trust obtaining ACV status for Home Park.
We are, however, keen to hear the views of our members as to how we can put our ideas forward and hopefully work with the Club on a development that meets the needs of Plymouth Argyle Football Club and its fans in the long run.
The Argyle Fans’ Trust Board.