01 September 2015
A letter was circulated to all club members advising of an Extraordinary General Meeting at which club members would have the opportunity to vote on the proposal for the club to move from its existing site at Notcutts Park to a new venue in Ufford
Dear Club Member,
RE: Our proposed move to a newly built facility at Ufford
Please find enclosed a leaflet listing the most frequently asked questions regarding the football club’s proposed move to a new facility at Ufford. I am sure there may well be other questions you may wish to ask, so you are invited to come along to the club on Friday 16th October 2015 at 7.45pm, when we hold an informal evening of questions and answers.
Monday 19th October 2015 is perhaps the most important date in the recent history of Woodbridge Town F.C., when an Emergency General Meeting (for club members only) will be held at the Club, at 8.00pm.
At this meeting, a paper ballot vote will take place on the proposed move to Ufford. Please note you will only be permitted to attend and vote, by producing your membership card, at registration on arrival.
The meeting will begin with an address from the Management Board, after which you will be asked to vote, by placing a ballot paper into one of the ballot boxes. When voting has finished, there will be an interval for the votes to be counted, after which, the result will be declared.
The future of our football club, depends on the result of the vote at the E.G.M. on Monday 19th October, therefore I ask you all to make every effort to attend.
J.P.Beecroft - Chairman
Why is the club considering a move from its current site at Notcutts Park?
In 1990, Suffolk Coastal District Council agreed a 25 year lease (the head lease) of the land on which the football club currently stands, with the landowner, Notcutts Nurseries Ltd. In the same year, Woodbridge Town F.C. and Suffolk Coastal District Council agreed a 25 year lease (the under lease) for the football club's use of the site. This year, 2015, both leases expired. The head lease (between Notcutts and SCDC) also contained an option for SCDC to renew (the head lease) following its expiry in 2015 for a further period of 10 years.
Does the club have to move from its current site?
Not immediately. SCDC has to option to extend the head lease until the year 2024, however at the end of this 10 year period, the landowner is currently unwilling to grant a new lease to SCDC, meaning the football club will then be required to purchase or lease a new site.
Why is the club considering a move outside of the town of Woodbridge?
The town of Woodbridge is landlocked between the A12 and the River Deben. A glance at a town plan or Google Earth, immediately indicates that no land of a suitable acreage is available between the two. The only other land within the town boundaries is a small portion of farmland on the opposite side of the A12 to the Peterhouse estate. Other farmland on the opposite side of the A12 includes land in the parishes of Great Bealings, Hasketon and Bredfield. Notcutts Nurseries Ltd wishes to sell the current football club site to Hopkins Homes Ltd., for housing development. As part of the redevelopment it is proposed that the football club moves to land owned by Notcutts in Ufford which would be made available to the football club for a lease period of 99 years. Although outside of the boundaries of the town of Woodbridge the proposed site at Ufford is 2.4 miles from Woodbridge Town Centre (the Turban Centre) compared to the 1.5 miles current distance from the town centre to Notcutts Park.
What facilities will the proposed new site at Ufford offer?
The proposed site at Ufford will include all of the facilities the club currently enjoys at Notcutts Park. Provision for two football pitches (including an enclosed floodlit competition pitch), car parking, a clubhouse with four changing rooms, bar and function area. A full size floodlit 3G pitch also forms part of the proposal.
What benefits will the proposed new site at Ufford bring the club?
Perhaps most importantly, the proposed 99 year lease would provide the club with a secure home for generations to come, security the club has never once enjoyed in its 130 year history. The proposed 3G pitch will provide the club with its own suitable area for training, also a first in 130 years, meaning all Woodbridge Town teams will no longer be required to source and hire external training facilities, which currently costs the club in the region of £15000 per annum.
Why does the proposed site at Ufford include facilities for Cricket?
An integral part the redevelopment plan is for additional homes to be built on the Melton St Audry's sports ground, land already owned by Hopkins Homes, meaning Melton St Audry's Cricket Club are also in need of relocation. Moving both Woodbridge Football Club and Melton St Audrys Cricket Club to the same site would be beneficial to both, as a sports facility that will be in use for all 12 months of the year.
What will happen if we choose to remain at Notcutts Park?
Notcutts Nurseries Ltd have advised SCDC that should the ten year option to extend the head lease be taken, the annual rent to SCDC, and in turn to WTFC, would double from its current £5000 per annum to £10000 per annum. It will already be clear to those members who attended the recent A.G.M., and previous A.G.M.'s, that the football club's finances deteriorate year on year and that the club's current business model is unsustainable. Without the benefit of implementing a new business plan on a new site, it is highly likely that Woodbridge Town F.C., in its current form, will be forced to cease trading and fold.