Councillors approve Forres Mechanics’ stadium move
MORAY councillors today paved the way for Highland League champions Forres Mechanics to move to a new stadium in the town.
• Moray councillors give go-ahead for Forres Mechanics stadium move
• Football team have played at Mosset Park since 1884
• Club yet to agree to £25 million stadium proposal
Members of the authority’s planning and regulatory services committee unanimously approved an application by developers Redco Milne to build a new stadium to the east of the club’s existing ground at Mosset Park where the “Can Cans” have played since the club was founded in 1884.
Redco Milne, a joint venture between building giant the Stewart Milne Group and Aberdeen-based developer Redco Assets, is offering to build the new ground as part of controversial plans for a major £25 million retail complex at Bogton Road, including the Mosset Park site.
But the Highland League side has still to agree to the move. Mosset Park is also sited on Common Good land and two years ago some 70 per cent of the people of Forres who responded to a council public consultation exercise voted against the sell-off of the land to the development company.
Neal MacPherson, the council’s principal planning officer, told councillors that the application had been lodged to provide an alternative location to be considered for the football club.
He continued: “Ultimately, this application, if approved, may provide some clear options for the relocation of the football club, but would not prejudice the separate consideration of the larger 2009 retail application at some point in the future. The issue of ensuring future provision for Forres Mechanics is only one of many planning issues to be taken into account.
“Any negotiations with the football club and the council as owners of the Common Good land upon which the club is currently located would be entirely separate from the planning application process.”
Mr MacPherson stressed: “The planning system is set up such that developers routinely seek planning permission on third party land, with the determining material considerations confined to planning matters only. Any subsequent process of negotiation and land acquisition by developers does not form part of the assessment of the planning application.Decisions about the possible sale of this land would be made by the Policy and Resources Committee or by full council following public consultation.”
But he stated: “On balance the possible provision of the new stadium for the town’s main football club would benefit the public who would use the facility themselves as spectators and for any other community based sports activities run by the football club or using the clubs facilities.
“Notably no objection was received from the football club itself, although this must not be interpreted to be a statement of support. A lack of opposition from the football club does however allow for consideration of the current application as a possible future facility.”
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