Racing Club seeks to reconcile with council

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Racing Club Warwick Football Club (RCWFC) wishes to reconcile with Warwick District Council following the election of a new committee.

Despite the club’s previously bitter relationship with the council concerning the future of St Mary’s Lands, on which the club play, the new committee elected last July wanted to end the dispute.

This change of heart came about after their differences had prevented the club’s facilities from being improved.

In a letter to the council, the club’s new chairman, Gary Vella, said: “I am conscious of the very negative relationship that there has been over the past few years between the council and the club.

“No one has benefitted from it.

“The new committee want to change this negative relationship and work with the council for the rest of the community.

“The members are fully aware of the change in position and are eager to see the club back on the map.”

The club’s former dispute with the district council dates back to 2009 over the council’s masterplan for St Mary’s Lands, which has consistently generated controversy.

RCWFC had wanted an all-weather pitch, new changing rooms, showering facilities, and a function room that the community could use.

But the situation became dire after match officials from the Football Association highlighted serious issues with club’s facilities, meaning the club will now be inspected by the FA.

Should Racing Club fail the inspection, it would risk relegation, which would result in the club having to focus its resources on improving the first team, likely abandoning their plans for the community in the process.

However, following the election of the new committee, council officers have met with the club to discuss plans to move forward.

The council is expected to approve the spending of an estimated £20,000 on keeping RCWFC operational, as well as a further £55,000 to remove various derelict buildings from around the grounds at a meeting on Thursday.

It is also expected to help raise money from other sources such as the FA and the King Henry VIII Charitable Trust in order to replace the club’s dilapidated dug outs, floodlights and changing rooms.

As part of the St Mary’s Lands masterplan, a plot of land adjacent to the club’s grounds is expected to become a new children’s playground to serve the Forbes estate.

Council officers had been looking for a suitable site for quite a while, and RCWFC’s plans will free up land near Hampton Road.

They also thought the playground would fit nicely with the football club’s ambitions to become a hub for the community, and is now expected to be part of the St Mary’s Lands masterplan.

Warwick Racecourse could also benefit as the Council is expected to note its proposals to become a jump-only circuit.

It is expected to apply for planning permission to extend the reservoir in its northern enclosure, level the track up to the first bend, and to improve the course’s turnstiles, all of which are necessary to keep the course open.