Residents 'pleased' as council set to reject Virginia Water FC plan for Mrs Caddy's Field
Sunday, 19 June 2016 17:59
Taken form Get Surrey with and undate from Mr Chris Fisher, a senior member of the ERA.
The club wanted to build a stand, floodlighting, a clubhouse with bar, changing rooms and parking for around 170 cars and coaches on the green belt land A football stadium will not be built on green belt land that is currently home to the Egham Royal Show, with councillors set to reject the proposals. Non-league Virginia Water FC wanted to build a stand, floodlighting, a clubhouse with bar, changing rooms and parking for around 170 cars and coaches on Mrs Caddy’s Field. Runnymede Borough Council’s community services committee is expected to dismiss the proposal when it meets on Thursday (June 16), due to residents’ "strong emotional bond" with the green belt land and "a strong desire to retain its openness". In an email sent by the committee’s chairman, Councillor Marisa Heath told a resident "the subject is being closed and there will be no movement forward of the proposal". Speaking to Get Surrey , the Conservative councillor said the council had "simply given the football club the opportunity to consult" but had never said it was going to build a football stadium on the site. The Englefield Green ward councillor said: “The residents have demonstrated very clearly they never wanted anything to be built on Mrs Caddy’s Field and, basically, we are listening to the residents and protecting the green belt area. The council said it would continue to support the club in its pursuit of a suitable home to provide adult and junior football facilities. The club’s chairman, David McBride, said he was disappointed by the decision. “Not so much the council point of view – just more disappointed with the local residents’ reaction,” he said. “It was such a good concept that would benefit the community in general. Like anything, we all have our views on Mrs Caddy’s Field and some were more emotional than others. “We had quite a bit of support in favour. We do have other irons in the fire but politically it probably was the right move [by the council] and we are looking at avenues to move elsewhere. “We are a local club so we’ve got to be conscious of local opinion as well as having responsibility for the people who play football at the club. "If Mrs Caddy’s Field was the only option, we probably would be taking it further but it’s not and we do have other options.” Mr McBride said the club was now pursuing other ‘delicate’ options closer to Virginia Water on ‘the strength we are not going to get as much of a reaction’. During a stormy public meeting last month, opponents had raised concerns about the club’s proposals to move from its The Timbers ground in Crown Road to Whitehall Lane. Jim Pearcey, chairman of the Egham Residents’ Association, said: “Since then, a lot of people who didn’t know anything about it were quite horrified even at the thought of it going to be allowed. I don’t think a lot of thought had gone into it. "They were offered four sites and chose the most controversial, probably because it was the flattest. "We are very pleased, I think there are a lot of sighs of relief.” Currently in the seventh tier of non-league football, the club have aspirations to reach the Ryman League Premier Division. Update: Runnymede Borough Council’s community services committee did decide on June 16 not to have any further discussions with VWFC about using Mrs Caddey’s Field. So the field has been saved!