Pools fans bid to protect Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park with special status

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A group of Hartlepool United fans are asking council officials to list Victoria Park as a community asset to help protect it.

Hartlepool United Supporters’ Trust have nominated the ground as an Asset of Community Value to owners Hartlepool Borough Council.

Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.

Victoria Park, the home of Hartlepool United Football Club.

The fans say the listing, if approved, would serve as an “early warning system” if the council planned to sell the ground or there were any other major proposed changes to its use.

In such an event the community would get six months to make an offer.

John McQue, one of the founding members of the recently-formed Hartlepool United Supporters Trust, said: “It is almost like a protection order, an early warning system.

“It gives the opportunity for a community-based organisation if the council or any subsequent owners were planning to sell, or change the use, six months to put in a counter offer or come up with something different.”

A way for a supporters organisation can help to secure the long term future of this treasured asset

The trust submitted the paperwork back in March when there was uncertainty around the planned takeover by TMH which later fell through.

New owners JPNG, with new chairman Gary Coxall, took over from IOR in June.

John added: “It is in no way, shape or form a sleight on the new owners. We have no reason at all to mistrust Gary Coxall, they have come in and done a smashing job.”

Around 35 league grounds also have the community asset listing including Old Trafford and Anfield.

Supporting papers as part of the Victoria Park nomination states: “The principal activities at the stadium is for the furtherance of sport and by listing the stadium as an asset of community value, the council would demonstrate its intrinsic value to the town of Hartlepool as a community amenity.

“One of the most important types of assets in any community is its land and buildings. In terms of football stadia, it is highly likely that they hold iconic status as well as community enterprise potential.

“As a result, the Community Right to Bid is a way a supporters organisation can help to secure the long term future of this treasured asset.”

The nomination will be discussed at the council’s Finance and Policy Committee, at 9.30am on Friday, held in the civic centre.

Hartlepool United declined to comment on the application.