Martin Mullaney, Birmingham’s cabinet leader for leisure, sports and culture, is urging Castle Vale Stadium users to set up a trust and manage their own stadium.
This will be one of the ideas to be put to a private, closed meeting of representatives of stadium users on 8th October. Two representatives from each of the football clubs that use the stadium will be invited to the meeting, along with Chris Baker, Erdington’s senior constituency manager, at which they will discuss the future of the stadium following the collapse of the ‘soccer village’ plans.
Some time later, Chris Baker intends to report to a meeting of the 2005 Group at the CVCHA offices.
The Council’s proposed partnership with a private company from the north east of England finally hit the dust when the City’s legal team called time on a deal that has been stuttering for four years.
Local residents will be keen to know what has happened to the £600,000 that they believed the Housing Action Trust had left for the development of the stadium. They will be disappointed.
A large part of the money has already been spent on development of the paddock and playing fields. Martin Mullaney says that the original pot of money was made up from three separate sources. The HAT’s contribution amounted to £160,000. A further £280,000 was money promised by a private developer, with the Council adding an additional £220,000. In total, the sum raised was £660,000 but, according to Mr Mullaney £288,000 has been spent on the new paddock. He says: “We are expecting to spend between £90,000 to £100,000 this winter laying out the new football pitches. That would leave about £220,000 for connecting the toilets to the main sewer – at the moment it goes to a cess pit – and hopefully new changing rooms.”
He is certain that Castle Vale residents could do a good job of managing their own stadium. He said: “If the idea of a Trust goes ahead, the City Council will continue to own the site, but the Trust, which would have a group of elected directors, could manage it. They would be working in an official capacity, holding an annual general meeting, and managing and maintaining the stadium. The Trust would pay a peppercorn rent to the council for the stadium. Castle Vale is passionate about its stadium, and they could do an excellent job.”
Another option that will be put to the user group meeting will be to invite other private companies to bid to develop the stadium. In view of the experience of the last four years, and in the current financial downturn, this option may get short shrift. Some stadium users have expressed concern about the current state of the building and will want urgent action.
Councillor Mullaney agrees that money needs to be spent to repair broken plumbing and on various refurbishments.
He has also indicated that the judo enthusiasts from Hardy Spicer Judo Club who had hoped to have a section of the ‘soccer village’ allocated to them, are now looking for another site in Castle Vale: “We are presently working with the club, Sport England and the British Judo Association to find a new home somewhere closer to the old Hardy Spicer works.”