Tulips: ‘20-acre site is not for our new ground’

New site for Tulips: The land next to the A16 bypass for which the club has paid an initial non-refundable sum.
New site for Tulips: The land next to the A16 bypass for which the club has paid an initial non-refundable sum.
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SPALDING United is looking to develop 20 acres of land on the outskirts of the town – but insists it is not for a new ground for the first team.

The club has signed a contract with Holbeach firm JH and AJ King for land near the roundabout where the new Spalding to Crowland road meets the A16.

.football action'sir h/s field,sp'sp utd v leek town

.football action'sir h/s field,sp'sp utd v leek town

The deal gives the club the option to purchase that land at a future date. The club wants to develop facilities there after a merger with Spalding Athletic Junior Football Club.

When asked if the land would mark a move away from the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, chairman Chris Toynton said “absolutely not” and there were “no immediate plans” to relocate.

A club statement said: “We can state categorically that the club has not ‘purchased’ any additional land in Spalding. What has occurred is merely a transaction has taken place to acquire an option to purchase some land on the edge of town at a future date.

“It is very early days, but with the merger with Spalding Athletic and the accompanying need for pitches for the junior teams as well as training facilities for the senior team, there is clearly a need for land to expand relative to the existing Sir Halley Stewart field.”

The club is not happy that news of the land deal has been uncovered by the Spalding Guardian and says it is still a long way from securing Football Association grants and other funding to afford the full price of the land and the development of training pitches and facilities.

We understand that the club has paid a non-refundable sum for around half of the 20 acres and has secured an option to buy the rest.

The club added: “It is also important to highlight that the land, currently used for agriculture, does not have the requisite planning permission so there are clearly many boxes still to be ticked before any purchase can be contemplated.

“The club’s ultimate vision is to help the youth and wider public of Spalding to enjoy first class football facilities and whilst we are working as best we can to achieve this goal, premature announcements are very unhelpful for all concerned.”

The club has a “custom and practice” arrangement with South Holland District Council to use its current base on a season-by-season basis. Mr Toynton said he would like to see it developed by the council into a “mini Stamford Bridge”.