Cow Commoners: ‘We couldn’t speak before, but Top Field plan will be good for Hitchin Town’ - Credit: Archant

The ancient body which owns the Top Field site Hitchin Town FC have called home since 1928 have set out their case in advance of a public meeting tonight, Wednesday.

The meeting has been called by Canaries boss Andy Melvin to rally support for the club’s cause.

The Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust is backing a proposal to shift the club to a new home on the edge of town, with their town centre stadium being redeveloped. Troubled supermarket chain Tesco has confirmed that it is interested in the land.

The Trust, made up of unpaid volunteers, has been repeatedly criticised for its failure to respond to public calls for information and will not be represented at tonight’s meeting at Top Field.

In their statement this week they said: “We have never considered selling the land without securing a suitable site for the relocation of the club.”

The proposal on the table would give the club, and the wider community, improved sports and leisure facilities and if the developer’s scheme gets the green light “the proposed new facility will not only provide a very modern, much larger, more well equipped stadium with up to date dressing rooms, massage rooms and bar area, but it will also meet the exacting standards of Sport England and the Football Association.”

They say that they will be inviting feedback on the planning application, which is due to be submitted shortly, but stress that North Herts District Council will have the final say.

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The long silence from the Cow Commoners was forced on the body because of lengthy negotiations with the football club to extend the lease on Top Field, with a break clause agreed with the development in mind. The deal was concluded at the end of last month.

Launching the campaign in the Comet last week, Mr Melvin said that the development proposal was full of planning pitfalls and the club wanted to stay put at its historic home, and he called fans, business people and townsfolk to make their views on what should happen known.