Surrey

Consultation over Walton and Hersham FC plans

A public consultation will be held into plans to move a Surrey football club and an athletics club to a new site.

The site at Stompond Lane in Walton-on-Thames is home to Walton and Hersham FC and Walton Athletic Club.

It is owned by Elmbridge Borough Council, which has been leasing it to the clubs.

Walton and Hersham FC, which has been based at the site for more than 90 years, said it was "completely opposed" to the plans.

Club supporters and residents waved 'Save Stompond Lane' placards before Wednesday night's meeting.

The council said it had heard evidence that it would cost about £3m to £4m to maintain the "inadequate" facilities at Stompond Lane over the next 10 to 15 years,

Its proposed £6m sports hub at Waterside Drive was given outline planning permission in July 2012.

'Contamination issues'

In a statement, Walton and Hersham FC said the proposals would "force Swans to move into an ill-considered and highly problematic sharing arrangement with Walton Casuals FC and Walton Athletic Club at a very hard-to-get-to out of town site at Waterside Drive".

It also claimed an official report on contamination levels at the site had been "erased from the council's website".

An Elmbridge Borough Council spokeswoman said the proposals sought to "reinvest" in the clubs.

She added: "It is precisely because the council wants to secure the long term future of the clubs that it has taken such care to bring forward proposals that will achieve this without burdening council tax payers.

"As the land owner of the Waterside Drive site, the council is well aware of the contamination issues.

"They were dealt with when [the leisure complex] Xcel was built, they were addressed when the synthetic turf pitch was built and the council has plans to do the same in relation to the Sports Hub."

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