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Gloucester City: Groundshare deal is set to be extended

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 24, 2013

  • AGREEMENT: Gloucester City chairman Nigel Hughes is confident of extending the groundshare deal with Cheltenham Town

  • AMBITION: City's proposed new £5 million stadium at Meadow Park

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GLOUCESTER City are close to finalising an extension to their groundshare agreement with current landlords Cheltenham Town.

The Tigers have played at Whaddon Road for three seasons after National Ground Grading guidelines prevented them from extending their lease at Cirencester Town.

With an agreement needed before the end of the current campaign in order to satisfy the Football Conference guidelines, talks between the two clubs have been ongoing for a number of months.

Tigers chairman Nigel Hughes confirmed the two clubs were "very close" to agreeing to an extension to the deal, worth upwards of £45,000 per year to Cheltenham, for another season.

"While we are in the process of finalising the details of a groundshare, the final details are still being reviewed," Hughes said.

"We need to have that done and sorted within the next two to three weeks but we have nothing but praise for the way Cheltenham have dealt with the negotiations.

"They have been fair in their dealings with us and we hope we can enjoy developing our relationship with them for the period until we move back home."

The Tigers' return home to Meadow Park suffered a setback at a planning meeting in September, when the club failed to get the go-ahead for their new £5 million community stadium.

The plans were 'minded for approval' with the caveat that further flood modelling work was done in order to ascertain the impact of the proposals on the area surrounding the stadium.

A city council sub-committee was set up to oversee the work and that group is set to meet in early February to confirm the precise nature of the further work that is needed.

Hughes said while it was frustrating that progress was slow, it is crucial that the club ensure every last detail is correct in order for there to be no further unnecessary hold-up.

"We are at a stage where it is nearly six months from the original planning meeting and we are not that much further down the line," Hughes said.

"However, there is a meeting planned in early February at which we hope to take things on further.

"But we have to be clear in our mind that what we are being asked to do in order to take things on, is clearly marked out.

"We don't want to be in a situation where we've provided information as we believed was required, only for the goalposts to be moved.

"We want to be 100 per cent certain that if we are deliver something that costs a great deal of money and time that it is what is required.

"We can't be in a situation where the plans go forward again and we're told that we haven't produced what has been asked of us."

■ Boston United remain "hopeful" that Saturday's game against Gloucester City will go ahead.

The York Street pitch is covered in two inches of snow, but that is currently acting as insulation against frost.

A club spokesman said: "Subject to next couple of days' weather, we could well be shovelling snow off on Friday night or Saturday morning."

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