AMBITIOUS plans to redevelop Featherstone Rovers’ stadium begin next month – including moving the pitch to make way for a housing development.
Simon Riley, Rovers’ chief executive, says the club plans to move the playing area at Big Fellas Stadium half a pitch lengthways towards the Railway End terrace.
The unusual decision will ensure two new stands – recycled from the former Scarborough Football Club – can be set up at the Post Office Road site and create space to build affordable housing to finance the multi-million pound stadium project.
Mr Riley said: “The reason we are moving the pitch is to make way for the stands. A the moment, where the pitch is located means we can’t get a stand in.
“The second reason is if we move the pitch down, we can make space to build residential properties to pay for the rest of the development. We’re relying on that to continue.”
The rugby league boss confirmed the club was in talks with the “relevant people” about building houses at the Post Office Road end of the site.
He said they hoped to submit a planning application by September and start work on the stadium in early 2012, but would be speaking to current residents on the street to hear their views and concerns.
He added: “We have spoken to a few people down there and we welcome their views.
“We presented the current plans at the community meeting earlier this month and they are what we felt are most appropriate.
“There may be some glaring issues that we have missed so we’ll go to public consultation on it and we what we would like to do is speak to residents and take their views into account.
“It will actually improve the view for current residents. They’re not going to have to look out on to the back of a stadium.
“By moving it further down, they’re going to get more space and not have a stand in their back garden.”
The new stand from Scarborough will arrive next month and work will begin straight away to put them up.
The move will increase the seating capacity at the stadium from 6,500 to around 8,000, edging the club closer to Super League requirements.
A new car park will also be built at the railway end of the stadium, creating development space within the existing car park for further plans, including a health hub.