Belper Town Football Club’s deputy chairman has vowed that its battle for promotion will not be dashed by the loss of a major investment.
The Nailers would have received about £1 million to move its Christchurch Meadow stadium 40 metres west so Tesco could put in a road to a new store. And new stands, car parks and turnstiles would have been created.
However, as exclusively revealed by the Belper News, the retail giant has pulled out of the deal after posting disappointing trading figures.
Deputy chairman Philip Varney, who was chairman for 23 years, saidTesco’s withdrawal would not affect the Nailers’ bid to escape the Northern Premier League Division One South.
He said: “We always said to Tesco that although they were far bigger, they needed us, we didn’t need them. We built a good clubhouse.
“We are one of the few clubs that own their own ground. I wouldn’t have liked to see it all dug up.
“The money would have made the ground the best non-league in the county. However, the club is very healthy and is going from strength to strength. We have got one of the best set ups.
“We are looking forward to next season and looking for promotion.”
When Tesco first unveiled plans, new hockey, tennis and cricket facilities were included. It also wanted to knock down the current library on Bridge Street to make way for the relief road and build a new one off Derwent Street.
It is thought the development would have created around 400 jobs. However, critics said the plans would have decimated the high street and caused traffic chaos.
Mr Varney continued: “For the community it’s disappointing.
“For Belper it would have been good - the town is dying on its feet.
“You need the big boys like Tesco to set things right. It should have gone ahead. But it’s gone now, it’s dead and buried.
“It would have lifted the A6. All the people that live near me are commuters now because we are situated inone of the best areas in the country for getting to places.”