A new permanent home for Darlington Football Club is “vital for the good of the town”, it has been claimed.
The Quakers have ruled out a return to the Arena – and intend to reveal the location of their preferred site for a new stadium in the city before the end of the year.
Read more: Darlington FC rules out arena return – and will reveal site of new ground before year’s end
The club have spent the past six years playing at Blackwell Meadows, having opted to share the ground with Darlington RFC after moving from their former temporary home in Bishop Auckland.
But earlier this year, the Echo exclusively announced that the club would move to a new stadium in the city, ending years of debate and uncertainty at their home ground.
The new stadium, which will accommodate between 5,000 and 8,000 supporters, could be built in time for the 2025/26 season.
A number of potential sites in the city have been identified for the multi-million pound stadium, which will reach Football League standards, and will include new training facilities which will be leased to clubs, schools and the community to help provide sustainable and steady development. revenue stream for the Quakers, which became fan-owned in 2012.
The plans, which the club hopes will be partially supported by financial grants, will also allow for future expansion of the stadium as the Quakers continue their drive to return to the Football League after their relegation in 2010.
Read more: Darlington FC leave Blackwell Meadows and move to new stadium
Ben Houchen, Mayor of Tees Valley, said: “It is vital for the good of the town that a permanent home be found so that the club can achieve its ambitions.
“We all know that the Quakers have gone through difficult times, especially because of the bad decisions in the past when the club left Feethams.
“Now I’m happy that those decisions are long behind us and that the club has the right direction with strong fan support in place.
“Creating a state-of-the-art stadium to meet both club and community needs is the right way forward.”
Peter Gibson, Conservative MP for Darlington, said: I have met many senior Darlington Football Club executives over the past three years.
“I understand the challenges they face as they seek to grow, and I strongly believe they need a forever home, built on a sustainable community model.
“I look forward to seeing their formal proposals and their engagement with the Darlington community to ensure the proposals meet the needs of the club, their supporters and the Darlington community.”
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