‘Considerable’ support has been shown to plans for Newport IW Football Club to move to Seaclose Park.
Previously, planning permission has been granted to build a ground for the team on land off of The Racecourse roundabout in Whippingham. Now, proposals have been put forward to move the ground and team back towards the heart of the county town — to Seaclose Park.
A consultation started by Newport North’s Councillor Matt Price is now seeking public opinion on the idea to build the all-weather pitch.
Cllr Price said they have received hundreds of responses to the petition, around 90% in favour, along with ‘thumbs up’ from people he has seen out and about.
Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, also tweeted to say the proposals were a ‘win, win’.
Cllr Price said:
“It is fair to say there is much enthusiasm for the idea of the club coming back closer to the town centre and there is a feeling that a new facility which encouraged wider community use would increase the appeal of Seaclose as a local sporting hub.
“To my knowledge, the club is very keen to re-establish its credentials as a community club, so would welcome grass roots football use because it generates interest in the sport and also the club.
“What’s more, Newport Football Club will be able to cover their own operating costs by allowing community groups and educational establishments to use the facility.”
Cllr Price said he has also spoken to John and Caroline Giddings, the organisers of the Isle of Wight Festival, about the plans but would not support any proposals that compromised the festival. He said:
“My belief is that the new facilities would actually help the event by providing additional office and hospitality accommodation as well as extra hard standing.”
Councillors representing Newport have also shared their support — Cllr Geoff Brodie, the Isle of Wight councillor for neighbouring Newport East, said he was very happy to do so.
“I was never happy at the football club leaving Newport,” he said. “This would be an ideal alternative, provided there is appropriate planning permission. It would help protect the rest of the park for recreational and sporting use and provide a facility that could be a real asset to the town.”
Cllr Julie Jones Evans, chair of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council , said she was behind any initiative that brings the community together and investment to Newport.
To complete the survey, before 1st March, visit tinyurl.com/footballinnewport.