The Fentydome – what is going on, exactly?
For more than a decade now the fans and personnel of GTFC have mulled over a move away from Blundell Park. A further year has passed since North East Lincolnshire Council's planning committee approved the club's application for the proposed stadium at Great Coates. Shortly after that, the Government decided not to scrutinise the plans further, effectively giving the club the go-ahead to seek 'retail partnerships' for the project.
Many thought that it was just a case of choosing an 'anchor tenant' for the ground's retail facility, and then we could count down the remaining days at Blundell Park. The further announcement in May 2008 that a commercial property developer, Castlemore Securities, had become involved seemed to keep the move ticking along.
Until, that is, John Fenty recently commented that he felt the council wasn't being supportive enough and was putting hurdles in the way. He stated: "We need a council that speaks with one voice to tell us what they actually support and if they really want a professional football club locally or not."
What prompted the chairman to say this and why? What is it the council could and should be doing? Could they offer more to the club?
There are suggestions that the club has struggled to find a retailer willing to locate to the new ground's retail section. Is the credit crunch undermining this key element of the club's current plan? Or is the proposed location not attractive for retailers? The council has recently approved plans for a retail development to regenerate top town. Could any prospective retailer looking at Grimsby find that more alluring than the club's proposed out-of-town development?
Wherever the club, and the move, currently stand, we think it's time to take stock of the matter. Over the coming weeks we'll be looking into the proposed move in more detail.
Our first step is to find out where the members of North East Lincolnshire Council stand on the club's proposed move. On Friday 3 October 2008, we asked each of the councillors for their take. As they reply we will update this page accordingly, to highlight their position on Town's relocation.
For starters we have the opinions of councillors Steve Beasant, Dave Boylen, Jon-Paul Haworth, Geoff Lowis, Steve Norton, Trevor Oliver, and Peter Barker.
In the meantime, if there's anything you want to say, let us know through the feedback page (although preferably not one-sentence (or one word even) opinions on the matter; we've read enough of those over the years).