Hitchin Town Football Club could move from Top Field to nearby school to secure future
- Credit: Archant
A proposal for Hitchin Town FC to move to a new home on the edge of town is being mooted as a viable option to secure the club’s long-term future.
The club, which play its games at the increasingly dilapidated Top Field stadium on Fishponds Road, is already in talks about a possible relocation to land at The Priory School in nearby Bedford Road.
The Canaries, who fought off a potential supermarket development which could have seen them move to an out of town site between Hitchin and Stevenage, believe a deal with the school could provide them with a modern stadium while helping the school expand in a win-win project which could benefit the community as a whole.
Chief executive Andy Melvin told the Comet this week: “We have a public meeting next Wednesday evening at Top Field to discuss future progress.
“I can’t stress enough that transparency, and a dialogue with stakeholders through a democratic and open process, is vitally important to us – nothing will happen without a consensus.
“There has to be a common vision on the issue of the club’s long-term future, and there are many things that will be discussed at our public meeting next Wednesday and beyond – but as things stand, essentially we have three options available to us.
“One, we stay at Top Field, don’t spend any money on improvements, and possibly see the club wither.
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“Two, we do a partial redevelopment of Top Field and stay at a cramped site which will then be even more squeezed.
“Or, three – our preferred option – we explore the possibility of moving lock, stock and barrel to The Priory School with their agreement, in a partnership beneficial to the wider community, the school and the club.
“I’ve already had very positive dialogue with various stakeholders, and I would certainly encourage everyone who cares about the future of Hitchin Town to come along to Top Field next Wednesday to learn more.”
Priory headteacher Geraint Edwards, added: “Hitchin Town and The Priory School have collaborated over many years to support young people.
“Over the last few months, informal discussions have taken place about how we could further develop our working partnership.
“One of the areas of discussion has been the possibility of the club relocating on to part of the school playing fields.
“The expansion of student numbers in Hitchin over the next five years will see the need for us to build new classrooms and sporting facilities.
“In a period of austerity, where central government is carefully targeting resources for new school building projects, collaboration with the football club may well be the way forward to provide the best facilities for Priory students and the wider community.
“We’re at a very early stage of investigating the viability of this exciting proposal.”