Berkhamsted FC's petition to save the club's Broadwater ground

The possible relocation plan will see Berkhamsted Comrades Football Club move from the ground in the town to Bourne End

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 10:43 am

A petition has been set up to save Berkhamsted FC's Broadwater home after landlords outlined a plan to sell the ground and relocate the team.

The football club says Berkhamsted Sports Ground Charitable Association Limited (BSGCA) plan to sell Broadwater ground in order to partially finance a new sports hub as part of a property development proposal in Bourne End.

The possible relocation plan will see Berkhamsted Comrades Football Club move from the ground in the town to Bourne End.

Berkhamsted Comrades FC want to stay at Broadwater

The BSGCA is a not-for-profit, charitable organisation formed in 1924 to hold, in trust, land in Berkhamsted for the purposes of leisure and recreation.

Last year, the BSGCA was introduced to Thakeham Group regarding a development at the eastern side of Berkhamsted, that aims to provide housing, a school, a country park and community sport and leisure facilities.

The BSGCA believes that the Bulbourne Cross development provides a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to provide the residents of Berkhamsted with a first-class multi-sport facility.

Berkhamsted FC started the petition - which has over 3,200 signatures - to save the ground and keep the club in the town, and not relocate to Bourne End.

The club currently plays at Broadwater

The petition says: "In short, the football club’s landlord wants to relocate the club to an out-of-town facility to be built on the green belt, which would only be accessible by car.

"The football club has been clear in its response: we wish to stay at our historic home ground at Broadwater.

"We are a local community club, run entirely by volunteers, and have over the years worked with a host of different charities, including Mencap, the Hospice of St. Francis, Help for Heroes, the British Legion and Leukaemia Research, as well as hosting charity football matches and supporting women's football as the former home base of Watford Ladies.

"Please help us with our cause and to #SaveBroadwater sign the petition and post your 'Reasons for Signing' in the comments section - we will use this in our discussions with our landlord and with the local council. Sharing this petition on social media would be greatly appreciated.

"As a committee, we are determined to #SaveBroadwater and ensure the Comrades continue to play football in their historic location for another hundred years."

Steve Davis, chairman of Berkhamsted FC, said: "We found out about the plans to relocate the club in October, there is a plan to move the club to Bourne End.

"We were told that there were two options, the first was a Taylor Wimpey project to move us to the Ashylns area of Berkhamsted, the second was the Bourne End option.

"We had a board meeting and we said that as a priority we wanted to stay in Berkhamsted and staying at our current ground would have been the preferred option, but we were prepared to talk about the Taylor Wimpey project which involved a move to Ashlyns.

"BSGCA came back and said that option was no longer on the table, so we would have to relocate to Bourne End.

"Generations have enjoyed having a town centre football club and community clubhouse after the school vacated the ground in 1914.

"It is the home of Berkhamsted Football Club, we are trying to save our ground, there is a petition for people to sign.

"We do not want to move but if we have to then we would prefer it to still be in Berkhamsted, not three miles down the road to Bourne End.

"It would also crucify us financially to move out of the town centre. The majority of our teams that play on the ground are actually youth teams.

"We are a big community club and not just the football, we have successful darts and pool teams based at the ground, we host parties, weddings and music events and we are home to a nursery and a taxi company.

"We are a big part of the community, a first team home game can bring in over 300 people, who also visit other local businesses, like pubs, cafes and restaurants in the town before and after games. It will have a big impact on everyone.

"If in due course Thakeham want to donate many acres to sport, they should put it in a Bourne End charity set up for the purpose. Having got the land for nothing, the clubs that want to be there, (Raiders, rugby, gym) can raise funds with grants for any buildings they want- without selling our ground."

The BSGCA said talks are in early stages and there is no agreed plan at this time.

Paul Forster, chair the BSGCA, said: "It is in the very early stages, there is a real big opportunity to do something great for Berkhamsted.

"We have looked at other options to support with the funding of the project, and the selling of Broadwater and relocating the club a a few miles down the road, was the best option.

"This project could hugely benefit the residents and sport in Berkhamsted.

"I could understand the problem if we were just kicking them out of the stadium, but we are not, the plan is to relocate them to a new, better stadium, that would be a 10 minute cycle away.

"It will benefit them in the long term, of course it is convenient to be in the middle of town, near the station, but all over the country clubs are having to move from old grounds, to new ones on the outskirts of the town.

"There are not enough pitches in Dacorum, and we need more pitches, more all weather ones and 4G pitches.There is a big shortage, and this project will help with that.

"I understand that the club doesn't want to move out of the town, but the new ground will be better for them, and will benefit the club.

"Sometimes you have to look a the bigger picture, and the relocation isn't that far away, it would be about a 20 minute walk.

"We are still in the early stages and this hasn't been included in the proposals to Dacorum Borough Council."

To sign the petition click here.