Town council supports plans for Manstone Park football stand 'in principle'
PUBLISHED: 17:34 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:50 10 January 2020
Plans to build a new covered spectator stand at Manstone Park have received the backing of the town council.
Sidmouth AFC wants to build the new spectator area at the town council-owned recreation park which is home to the football club on match days.
For the club to comply with national ground grading standards, set by the Football Association, work on the new stand needs to begin this year.
At a meeting on Monday (January 6), the town council agreed to support the idea in principle.
However, some councillors said a balance needs to be maintained between the needs of the club and public access to the recreation ground.
A formal planning application is yet to be submitted to the district council.
Speaking at the meeting, Andy Argyle, club development team leader at Sidmouth AFC, said: "Manstone Park is a public asset and the football club tries to work with the grain of that.
"We play football there, we have a club house there but we are very conscious that the public also use it for recreational purposes and that is, moving forward, what we try to do."
The football club is proposing to build a covered stand on the south side of the ground.
The existing open stand, which can 'comfortably' hold around 50 people, would be dismantled.
A tarmac hard-standing spectator area would be provided along the Lidl end of the ground behind existing spectator railings.
Railings would also be installed at the eastern end in place of an existing rope barrier as well as a wire-mesh goal-stop to prevent footballs ending up in neighbours' gardens.
Mr Argyle said the club will also enter into discussions with the town council and the developer behind the Manstone skatepark over a possible joint drainage solution.
Cllr Jack Brockenshire disagreed with a new stand being built.
He said: "It's a public recreation ground not a football ground."
However, Cllr John Loudoun said: "It would be wrong for the town council at this juncture to be putting a dampener on the desires of the football club to improve their facilities."