Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry City: Council 'open to Ricoh Arena freehold bids'

Ricoh Arena Image copyright Getty Images

Coventry City Council is willing to consider bids for the Ricoh Arena and the surrounding land, the authority's leader has confirmed.

Councillor Ann Lucas said the council would listen to "reasonable and sensible offers" for the freehold but stressed the site would not be sold "unencumbered".

She also said it is time to consider a future for the Ricoh without a football team.

Coventry City FC declined to comment.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Ms Lucas said she wanted to see Coventry City back at the Ricoh and called it "its rightful home".

'Symbol of pride'

But she said the council could not continue to let their agenda be dictated by the stadium saga.

Image copyright Coventry City Council
Image caption Councillor Ann Lucas said they would listen to any "reasonable and sensible offers" for the freehold but would not sell it "unencumbered"

"In the future we must be committed to consider all options available to not just protect but also maximise the potential of the Ricoh Arena," she said.

"The Ricoh Arena, and the site around it, has always been about much, much more than a football stadium.

"It's about regeneration, jobs creation, a symbol of pride for people in a part of the city that's had more than its fair share of hard times.

"And because I want this city to be punching not just at its weight but way above, and I'm in a hurry to make this happen, I am no long prepared for us to be distracted unnecessarily on this issue - as important as it will remain."

The Ricoh is owned by Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), a joint venture company consisting of Coventry City Council and the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.

The Sky Blues have been playing home games at Northampton Town's Sixfields stadium after a rent row with ACL.

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