Newly promoted League Two football club Hartlepool United has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hartlepool Borough Council to explore the potential redevelopment of the team’s Victoria Park stadium.
The agreement was signed on Friday ahead of Hartlepool’s National League play-off final victory against Torquay United yesterday (Sunday).
The partnership is designed to ensure the club’s long-term sustainable future as a “key organisation” in the town, while progressing opportunities to create a new multi-purpose stadium site.
The MoU forms part of Hartlepool chairman Raj Singh’s long-term plans for the club, whose short-term future was secured after the businessman funded a rescue package at the end of the 2017-18 season.
The council is supporting the club’s plans and the MoU is designed to create an entity which provides “not only football but is a hub at the heart of the town”.
Hartlepool noted that the 7,800-seat Victoria Park, which opened in 1886, is “aging” and stressed the need to progress redevelopment options, as well as explore plans for the replacement of Mill House Leisure Centre with a new multi-million pound leisure centre on the town’s waterfront.
The key priorities of the MoU are to contribute to the key development of a shared vision and strategic masterplan for Victoria Park and the Mill House area of Hartlepool; to identify options and establish initial priorities for the redevelopment of Victoria Park and the club’s training facilities; to work collaboratively to bring forward strategic development proposals; and to jointly seek project finance including from external investment sources.
Singh said: “We are delighted to be signing this Memorandum of Understanding to work together with the council – it represents a small but important milestone. Lee Rust has been working with the club over the past year as an adviser and he has played an important role in helping us to arrive at this Memorandum. Working together I hope that we will ultimately have the opportunity to create something special which can benefit the whole town.”
Rust added: “The club has for many years talked about its aspiration to improve the stadium. We’re very excited about the potential for the Victoria Park and Mill House sites and we’re looking forward to working with the council. We hope to not only be able to create a first-class facility for football but also a multi-purpose site that is commercially viable and sits at the heart of local community activity.”
Image: Hartlepool United