Hartlepool United and council in talks over 'new multi-purpose community stadium'
Hartlepool United and council chiefs are to work together in a new bid to regenerate both the football club’s ground and surrounding area.
A memorandum of understanding will be publicly signed on June 18 by both parties before they begin exploring ways of “ensuring the club’s long-term future” and securing external funding for their plans.
Their talks will including “reviewing opportunities to create a new multi-purpose community stadium and regenerating the town’s Mill House area”.
Praising club chairman Raj Singh for his work since taking over Pools – who will return to the Football League this weekend by winning the National League play-off final - a council statement said: “The council recognises the importance of the club to the local community and supports this ambition.
"Achieving this will require long-term strategic planning and partnership working.
“The goal is to create a club which provides not merely football but is a hub at the heart of the local community, providing a range of sport, education, health, business and event activities.
“The Victoria Park stadium, which the club leases from the council, is approaching the end of its life, although the site itself is widely viewed as the most suitable and beneficial location for a sports stadium in Hartlepool.
“There is therefore a need to explore redevelopment options for the stadium which would unlock commercial and community uses.”
With the nearby Mill House Leisure Centre due to be replaced by a new multi-million pound leisure centre on The Waterfront, the talks will include “collaborative options for redeveloping the Mill House site”.
The issue of training facilities will also be discussed.
Councillor Shane Moore, the leader of the council, said: “Hartlepool United Football Club is an important and much-loved part of life for so many people in Hartlepool.
“We are looking forward to working with the club to help it become a dynamic force for the future, providing a wide range of benefits and opportunities across the whole of the community and secure in the longer term.”
Denise McGuckin, the council’s managing director, added: “We are also looking forward to exploring with the club options for redeveloping the Mill House site, revitalising this key area in the centre of town.
Pools chairman Raj Singh said: “We are delighted to be signing this memorandum of understanding to work together with the council. It represents a small but important milestone.”
Lee Rust, who is acting as executive advisor to the club, said: “We are very excited about the potential for the Victoria Park and Mill House sites and we are looking forward to working with the council.
“We hope to not only be able to create a first-class facility for football but also a multi-purpose site that is commercially viable and sits at the heart of local community activity.”
Previous attempts to develop the area included 2013 plans for a new 3,000-seat stand at Victoria Park – complete with hotel – plus an upgraded Mill House swimming pool.
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