Stadium team need to defeat planners
Call for fans’ support
The team leading plans for a new £13.5million Dumbarton FC stadium expect the proposal to be recommended for refusal by council planners.
Club bosses told a fans’ meeting they believe the plans for Young’s Farm will not be given the support of planning officers due to the land being a green belt site.
But they are hopeful that the benefits of development will shine through.
Chris Stainton, director of majority shareholder Brabco, and planning consultant Roddy MacLeod met fans at the current Castle Road Stadium last Thursday, where they spoke of their ambitious plans.
The proposals, which were submitted in May, would see a 200-home residential development built on the 28-acre site near Renton Road to fund the new 4000-capacity stadium.
But Roddy, who has been working on the proposals for five years, does not think it will be plain sailing for the club and called on fans to offer their support.
Speaking at the meeting organised by Sonstrust, an association which represents the fans, he said: “It is a green belt site and planning officers have been quite resistant to allow any residential development there.
“I actually expect that the planning officers will recommend that this proposal is refused but I am hoping the committee will see the benefit of this proposal.
“What we need is for people to speak up and offer written and verbal support to the project and let the planning committee know they want to see this development go ahead.”
The final decision on the plans will be made by the council’s planning committee.
Despite these concerns, Roddy claimed the land – which the club hope to sell for £500,000 per acre to fund the new stadium – is already generating interest among developers.
He said: “We have tested the market thoroughly and we know that there is no commercial opportunity there that will provide that level of funding. Residential development is the only option.
“We already have a significant level of builder interest due to other current developments in the area.”
The homes would be built alongside the new stadium, which would seat twice as many fans as their Castle Road ground.
The development would also feature leisure and training facilities including all-weather pitches which would be open to the public.
For the first time fans were given access to detailed information surrounding the plans. Issues which were raised during previous meetings, such as major concerns related to flooding and financial viability, were also addressed.
The plans have been altered and there is no longer any development taking place on the area of land at risk of flooding.
Other obstacles placing the bid under jeopardy include concerns from Glasgow Airport about structures over 15m being built on the site.
And West of Scotland Archeology Service say the site could be the location of a house once owned by Robert the Bruce.
But Roddy said these issues present no difficulty in the progress of the plans.
He added: “The site itself is not straightforward to develop and we know there are a lot of challenges to overcome to develop here.
“Part of the site also floods quite significantly and that is something we have had to work hard to overcome. We are not allowed to build in these areas.
“There are a lot of ecological elements which will need to be considered.”
Brabco boss Chris Stainton, who took over the project from fellow director Ian Wilson this year following his resignation from the DFC board, insisted the stadium move is essential to sustain the future of the club.
He said it would generate a profit for the club in a short space of time, something which is not possible at the club’s current ground.
He said: “Throughout the last few years the club has benefited from a number of directors’ loans and those are not sustainable.
“It’s not clear where the cash to stay where we are is going to come from.
“Staying here presents some significant questions that no one has the answer to right now.
“On the new site we can increase non-match day revenue through football pitches and offices which will make it sustainable. We will also have a sinking fund, which means the new stadium will be sustainable.
“With every bone in my body I believe that this project will deliver for the community, for the club and, to be frank, for Brabco itself.”
The meeting was the fifth held between fans and club bosses regarding the stadium project and Sonstrust’s Simon Barrow said discussions have taken a positive turn.
He said: “In April, when we asked who felt confident about this project, not one single person raised their hand.
“But now we are being given the information we are asking for and we are able to scrutinise the plans and get answers.
“We are far more positive about the plans now and we are feeling much more confident about the process.”
Earmarked The site at Young’s Farm
Plans Roddy Macleod
Proposal Club bosses have revealed more details of the project