SBC refuses to grant lease over Home Park

Coldstream Football Club at Home Park in Coldstream.
Coldstream Football Club at Home Park in Coldstream.

Coldstream Football Club members are hoping that no extra time will be needed for improvement plans at Home Park.

If the club is to remain a full member of the Scottish Football Association, their facilities need to be upgraded.

However, their planning application, to put up a 2m solid fence around the pitch, plus gates and a grandstand for 100+ people to meet SFA requirements, has stalled since being submitted in January.

While planning officers negotiate with club officials about elements of the plans, the council’s legal department has now stated that the club’s bid for a lease on the pitch – in line with SFA requirements – cannot be granted. They say the lease they already have on the ground where the club pavilion is located probably should not have been granted either.

Andrew Drummond-Hunt, SBC’s head of property and facilities management, explained: “Following the council’s ongoing review of the common good estate it has come to light that Home Park is part of the common good estate and is inalienable. In other words, it is not lawful to lease or sell off parts of Home Park.

“The council could grant consent for the alterations but is not in a position to grant the club a lease.

“However, as an alternative to a lease, SBC could grant the club a series of seasonal bookings for the pitch in recognition of the works the club would carry out to it. The park would have to remain open and accessible to the public outside of booked football matches.

“It is hoped an arrangement along these lines would be acceptable to the SFA.”

Club official Gerald Tait is confident the SFA will grant them sufficient leeway to carry on with their plans.

In a letter to SBC officials, he wrote: “The Scottish FA are not bothered about a lease as such as long as we have some security of tenure.”

Mr Tait reported that at an SFA Licensing meeting last week Coldstream had been given the go ahead to change the proposed perimeter fence “as long as the gap between the railings does not allow a good view of the football match”.

Moving the covered stand “so that it does not impact on the view of the hills and park” also got the nod from the SFA. Mr Tait added that the SFA “are ok” with having portable gates on the path in the park.

“We would welcome an early decision on planning approval so we can move into the next phase of the project eg building warrant and tapping into the £130,000 funding package that is waiting,” said Mr Tait.

A spokesperson for the club said on Tuesday: “Negotiations with both the SFA and the council are ongoing. Our discussions with the SFA have been very positive and we remain optimistic that things are moving the right direction.”