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Great Coates is the Only Option

Date: 16/11/2006

THE club would like to respond to suggestions that there are more suitable locations for a new stadium than the site at Great Coates

The club finds it extremely frustrating that the possibility of alternative locations continues to be raised.

A number of independent studies carried out over the years have unanimously concluded that the site at the Great Coates Interchange is the most suitable site for a new stadium. Probably the most important of these was that commissioned by NELC and undertaken by Gerald Eve Chartered Surveyors to assist the Council with the consideration of the current local plan policy and the previous planning application. This study formed part of the Council's evidence to the local plan inquiry and led an independent government appointed planning inspector to conclude that the Great Coates site has numerous advantages over all possible other locations and is the most suitable available site.It would therefore be both foolish and uncertain for the club to pursue the Fish Dock Estate or Macaulay Lane sites particularly so, when the Great Coates site is allocated in the local plan and gives the best-known chance of delivering the scheme.

Nevertheless and for the record we outline below key reasons why the Macaulay Lane and Fish Docks sites are unsuitable:

  • The Stadium complex consists of a potential 20,000-seat stadium, 3 training pitches, 70 coach parking spaces, 1,350 car parking spaces, which requires 28 acres of land for their proper development.
  • The Retail Enabling development and Park and Ride scheme require 40 acres of land. The retail development provides the essential funding for the stadium in excess of £10.7 million plus the cost of land.
  • The 700 space Park and Ride scheme will also be paid for by the Retail Enabling development; its provision is a long-term aspiration of NELC and will reduce congestion into Grimsby and Cleethorpes making them more attractive and easier to visit. The Great Coates site offers excellent links to all outlying areas and into the heart of Grimsby and Cleethorpes, helping to reverse out of town shopping and attract inward investment to the area.
Macaulay lane

  • The Site is highly contaminated with significant reclamation costs.
  • The site lacks prominence for a successful retail scheme required to provide the essential enabling cross subsidy in excess of £10.7 million plus the cost of the land.
  • The Road network leading to the site is not suitable to accommodate the traffic associated with this type of development and would be a disaster for nearby residents, fans and the Club in the long term.
  • The site will replicate many of the conditions at Blundell Park, which would be a disaster for local residents, fans and the Club in the long term.
  • The Site is not suitably located to facilitate a Park and Ride scheme.
  • The Stadium complex consists of a potential 20,000-seat stadium, 3 training pitches, 70 coach parking spaces, 1,350 car parking spaces, which requires 28 acres of land the development is likely to be to close to existing dwellings promoting similar issues pertaining to Blundell Park.

The Gerald Eve report concluded that the viability of a retail and stadium scheme on this site was seriously open to question. Macaulay Lane was also discussed in some detail at the inquiry into the local plan. The government appointed inspector concluded: "I also share the council's doubts that the access arrangements via Cromwell Road and the surrounding road network, much of which passes through areas of high density terraced housing, would be suitable to accommodate the additional traffic movements generated by a major sports stadium and ancillary activities. Although bounded by two rail lines to the west and south, I further doubt that even if a new rail station could be built, the cost of which would have to be borne by the development, such difficulties would not be overcome. Depending on its exact location on the site, it is also noteworthy that the proximity to existing dwellings might be materially closer here than for the stadium at Great Coates. For all of the above reasons, I do not consider Macaulay Lane to be a suitable alternative site for a new sports stadium and associated development at present. Nor is it realistic to expect that the new football stadium could be built in the near future, principally due to the major abnormal infrastructure costs involved in the restoration and redevelopment of this land."

The Fish docks

  • Access onto the Dock estate with its existing road layout is not suitable to accommodate the traffic associated with this type of development and would cause major problems in the wider area in the long term.
  • The site will not remove congestion from the town which is one of the existing problems with Blundell Park, which would be a disaster for the town, fans and the Club in the long term
  • There is a weak bridge at the opposite end of the Dock estate, which accesses directly, small areas of land onto the estate.
  • Some 68 acres of land is required to facilitate the stadium and retail development. The retail development provides the stadium with free land and a cross subsidy of 10.7 million pounds. This area of land is not available without some infilling of the dock. Infilling will add significantly to the construction costs if the Fish market lessons are to be learned.
  • The 'new' fish market built about 10 years ago was on reclaimed land. Continuing subsidence has caused major problems affecting the building, car, and lorry parks. There are already plans to relocate the fish market to a new site, not on reclaimed land.
  • There are 8 listed buildings that stand in the way of freeing up potential land.
  • Many viable businesses operate from within the Fish Dock estate and not all of them wish to relocate. In any case, it would take years to achieve - time the Football Club does not have.
  • Filling in part of the Dock could be considered to make space on reclaimed land. The cost would be significant to protect against potential subsidence.
  • The Fish Dock is not suited to facilitate a Park and Ride scheme and would bring congestion back into town.
The Gerald Eve report confirmed that there were likely to be major considerations of site abnormal condition such as remediation and landfill, as well as the timescale and procedure for securing vacant possession. It went on to conclude that the process is likely to involve many years of patient planning, coordinated action between the public and private sectors including grant assistance and recourse to compulsory purchase powers to assemble land. The additional burden of introducing subsidised funding of the stadium as well as the complex procedures and timescales were amongst the principal reasons for dismissing the site.

Any alternative site to Great Coates would also require answers to the following

  • Who is going to pay for the 28 acres of land required by the Football Club if it was available, because the club cannot?
  • Who is going to replace the vital cross subsidy £6 million contributing to constructing the stadium development, because the club cannot?
  • Who is going to pay for the infrastructure, currently in excess of £4.7 million, because the club cannot?

The relocation site at Great Coates is supported by the Council's current local plan following the examination of alternative sites, which concluded no other alternative sites offered have the same advantages as the proposed site. The purpose of the local plan is to guide and provide certainty to development proposals. Under the circumstances it is ludicrous to expect the club to consider alternative sites.

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