10:15AM, Thursday 23 January 2020
Concerns were raised over the cabinet’s decision to release public land for Maidenhead United’s potential stadium move at a scrutiny panel last week.
On January 15, councillors on the corporate overview and scrutiny panel discussed Maidenhead United’s possible move to Braywick Park, which would see a 5,000 capacity community stadium built on land near the running track.
In December, the cabinet agreed to release the land to the club for no fee.
Cllr Geoff Hill (TBF, Oldfield) called this decision in for the panel to discuss as he felt the ‘groundwork’ had not been done properly.
He said: “To give the land away is folly.
“In 150 years will the football club want to relocate from Braywick Park? Then it will be worth a huge amount of money to the club.
“Public land needs to be protected, we can’t just give it away to private companies.”
Cllr Hill added that the cabinet had ‘jumped the gun’ and called for the decision to go to full council.
The council’s executive director of place, Russell O’Keefe, assured Cllr Hill that if the land was no longer being used as a football club the council would automatically get it back.
Cllr Hill said: “You keep doing this in Oldfield and we have had enough. You keep driving things through and at the moment me and Cllr (Helen) Taylor pick up the mess.
“We have had enough, it’s driving me mad.”
Councillors were generally supportive of the move, but some were concerned about the number of people that could be in the park, particularly if a Maidenhead United and Maidenhead Rugby Club fixture took place at the same time.
Cathy Ison, president of Maidenhead Athletic Club, which is based at Braywick Park, was in the public gallery and gave her support to the move.
Maidenhead United have offered to build a new running track for the club as part of the potential development.
Leader of the council Cllr Andrew Johnson added: “Parts of London have three Premier League football matches on the same day within a three-mile radius.”
At the end of the public part of the meeting, the panel agreed to take no action on the cabinet’s decision to release the land, but asked that further details be given to the panel before the next cabinet meeting.