In June 2017, the Rovers Trust applied to make the Blackburn Rovers’ Training Centre at Brockhall an Asset of Community Value; to provide an opportunity to prevent a discreet or quick sale of this facility by the Club. This was strongly opposed by Blackburn Rovers and, subsequently, Ribble Valley Council rejected the application.
So, it comes as no great surprise to read that the Club now propose to sell the land where the Senior Training Centre is located and allow developers to build up to 170 dwellings in its place; despite Financial Director, Mike Cheston, saying in 2018 there were ‘absolutely no plans to vacate the Brockhall site’.
Whilst today’s press release from the Club paints a very positive plan for the future of the training facility, the Trust cannot but feel there are many questions to be asked about this worrying news; therefore, it welcomes the Club’s statement that it is to run an ‘informative and inclusive consultation process’.
The Trust would like to begin the process with the following questions:
- Is the Club aware of legal Covenants placed by the Walker Trust when the sale of the Club was completed, preventing the land being used for housing?
- Why was the process begun before the proposal was outlined to the supporters? Was this a result of social media speculation?
- Who is being asked to carry out the initial consulting work?
- What is the likely cost of the work?
- Will this affect the transfer budget?
- Does this affect the Academy Category One status?
- Where did the decision to merge the centre come from, e.g. players, coaching staff, Ewood management, Venky’s?
- What is the plan to refurbish Ewood Park, which is also now “30 years old”?
- What is the plan should the Council reject the planning permission?
- Are there any FFP implications?
The Rovers Trust Board feels very concerned about a dangerous precedent being set here. Its research shows that the Covenant placed at the time of the sale of the Club state that the Club shall not apply for planning permission for and not erect any buildings for residential or commercial use [other than for sports and recreation]. Today’s news flagrantly disregards part of the terms of The Walker Trust sale and it feels strongly that the Club consider this and respond in full as a matter of urgency.
Rovers Trust is a Community Benefit Society, that aims to secure the assets and heritage of the Club and preserve the long-term health of Blackburn Rovers.
More information and how to join here
Oliver Jones (Vice Chair).