UPDATED: Newport Football Club looks set to relocate to land on the outskirts of Newport near Whippingham, it has been revealed tonight (Monday).
The club has been given notice to quit the existing ground at St George’s Park to make way for a new retail development on the site. In April of this year the club was given a 12 month extension by land owners South Coast Leisure allowing them to remain at St George’s until May 2018.
Now, following a 2-year search for a new home, it has been confirmed that the club are looking at building a brand new football pitch with a state-of-the-art clubhouse and community facilities on land off Racecourse and East Cowes Road.
This proposed new ground will include ‘low-throw’ lighting which minimises light spillage, energy efficient facilities and a lift and viewing area enabling access for those with disabilities.
The open grassland has been used as a car park during the Isle of Wight Festival but recently went up for sale.
Vehicular access to the site will be from East Cowes Road utilising a modified existing access to the east of the majority of residential properties.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to the Isle of Wight Council shortly.
UPDATE TUESDAY – Paul Airey, SCL’s Planning Consultant has said:
“After an extensive search over a long period of time in which many sites were considered we have now identified and secured a site that offers a really bright future for Newport Football Club.
“We have been in close contact with club officials in developing these proposals. These plans will allow Newport FC to move forward as a community-focussed club playing in a brand new, sustainable, stadium with top quality facilities and pitch.
“We will continue to work with the club and its supporters and also with the residents who live near the proposed site of the new ground. We want to make sure this opportunity provides Newport and the wider community with the best possible sporting facility.”
Stuart Ross, chairman of Newport Football Club, said:
“We would like to thank South Coast Leisure for their support over many years.
“The club has been working closely with SCL to develop these plans to ensure they meet the required Category D ground grading specifications and are fit for purpose for the club.
“On behalf of Newport FC, I will continue my negotiations with SCL in order for this new development to provide the club and the wider Isle of Wight community with a long term sustainable future which is hugely important. We are very close to this which is magnificent. This is a chance for the club to end years of uncertainly and settle into a new home that will offer top class facilities.
“We have to move quickly for the start of the 2018/19 season, but we have a plan which, if approved, will finally see the club playing in a ground that can thrive both in terms of its football and in developing and strengthening links with the Islands community.”
It has been confirmed that the new ground will be constructed to meet the Football Association’s Category D ground grading – higher than the current club’s requirements of an F grading. This will enable Newport FC to play up to Step 4 level of the National League System which is Southern Football League Division 1.
South Coast Leisure hope that, subject to the planning process, the new football stadium could be built and ready to use for the start of the 2018/19 season.