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Atherstone United Appeal For Survival

Atherstone United football club faces automatic relegation if it fails to win an appeal against a local authority ruling on ground improvements.

North Warwickshire Council rejected a planning application to redevelop the ground.

The football club has lodged an appeal and a decision on whether to hold a public inquiry will be taken over the next few weeks by the government inspectorate at Bristol.

If the football loses out on its plan to improve the ground it faces a stark future.

Club chairman Ku Akeredolu says:

"If we cannot bring our ground up to standard we shall be thrown out of the Dr Martens League. We have worked hard to reach the Premier Division but our ground does not meet the current grading standards.

"If we do not carry out improvements we shall probably be relegated two divisions and find ourselves in the Inter Link Express league."

United want to build a permanent toilet block instead of the current mobile toilet, they want to provide seating for the disabled and improve access, and to improve the main stand.

Mr Akeredolu said:

"As I see it we have five options. We do nothing and get kicked out of the league which could lead to the demise of the club, we could re-submit a diluted version of the planning application to satisfy our critics but that would not meet our ground grading requirements, we could drop down the leagues but our financial requirements make that unviable, or we could take football out of Atherstone in a ground sharing arrangement.

"The fifth option to appeal is what we have gone for. Our appeal is a stake in the ground to show where we stand. We are currently in positive talks with the council and I hope something will come of that, before we get into the possibility of a costly public inquiry."

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CWN / Sport / Football  / Atherstone United / 14 Jun 99

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