COUNCILLORS say they are committed to helping secure a long-term future for football in Northwich.
Clr Stuart Parker told his colleagues on Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) this week that the authority is playing an active part in the homeless club’s unfolding story.
“We have offered to provide what assistance we can in order to help the club and its supporters,” he said at Thursday’s council meeting in Winsford.
“The council is taking a pro-active approach to the continuation of football in Northwich and we have been working collaboratively with the club, the supporters trust, and the local community – through the town council – to find a positive way forward.”
Clr Parker, executive group member for regeneration and culture, was responding to a question from Clr Julia Tickridge, a ward member for Witton and Rudheath.
She asked the council what it is doing to assist the club, which was relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s top tier last week as punishment for breaking finance rules.
“There are clear differences in the circumstances surrounding this club and Chester, but no less importance is being attached to supporting the Vics ."Clr Stuart Parker
The team, runners-up behind Chester in the competition’s Premier Division, was banned from taking part in the end of season promotion play-offs too.
As a result, the club is set to play next season at the lowest level in its near 140-years history.
Clr Parker said: “The problem originated when the club was unable to purchase its stadium from receivers and it was subsequently bought on the open market [in January 2012] by Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd in order to expand its business.
“Realising the difficulties faced by the Vics as a result of the new arrangement, my officers have met with Cheshire FA, the club, the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League and Sport England.
“The council is currently in discussion with Thor about the future of the stadium and the relevant planning issues with regards to the redevelopment of the site.
“We remain in dialogue with all of the parties involved, and further meetings have been arranged in a bid to arrive at a solution.”
He said that making comparisons with Chester, a club that has been promoted in successive seasons since it was formed two years ago following the demise of Chester City, were unhelpful.
“There are clear differences in the circumstances surrounding this club and Chester, but no less importance is being attached to supporting the Vics even though the solution may be different,” added Clr Parker.