Rovers Trust, the official supporters trust for Blackburn Rovers, have launched a further attempt to safeguard the future of Blackburn Rovers world-class training and academy facility at Brockhall.
The Trust has submitted an application to list Brockhall as an Asset of Community Value. If approved by Ribble Valley Borough Council, this would impose a 6-month moratorium on any future attempt to sell the properties during which time community groups would have the right to bid to buy them. Following its research into, first, the leasehold terms of the site and second, the planning law provisions, the Trust believes that a successful application would provide a third layer of protection for these important assets for the football club.
Michael Doherty, the Rovers Trust Legal and Policy Officer, said, ‘We submitted the application on the same day that Rovers confirmed that the Academy would retain Category One status. The club is justifiably proud of this fantastic achievement and we welcome the sustained commitment to the Brockhall facilities. We feel that the club officials and the supporters trust share a vision of the importance of Brockhall to Blackburn Rovers and the wider community, and hope to see them being supportive of the application’.
He also cautioned that ‘Some clubs have sold their training facilities under financial pressures, most recently Bolton Wanderers in 2016. Rovers fans see the Brockhall facilities as part of the heritage that Jack Walker built for the club and its supporters. Given the terrible decline in the club’s league position in recent years, the ability of the Academy to produce great young players and the excellence of the training facilities to help attract players will only become more important. We are determined that Brockhall remains a core part of Blackburn Rovers for the future’.
Rovers Trust was one of the first supporters trusts in the UK to obtain an Asset of Community Value listing over a football stadium, when Ewood Park was listed by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2013. It is similarly at the forefront of attempts to provide protections to training grounds, following the successful example of the Rams Trust in getting Derby County’s academy listed in 2014.
Chair of the Rovers Trust, John Murray, said “This application is part of the Trust’s key role in preservation of the heritage of our club for all Blackburn Rovers supporters. Whilst fans are optimistic at the moment we must remain watchful. We hope all Rovers supporters see this as a positive move and that Ribble Valley residents, in particular, get behind the application.”
[For further enquiries, please contact Michael Doherty firstname.lastname@example.org 07530-104896 or John Murray 07880-507080]