Artist's impression of proposed stadium
|Owner||FC United of Manchester|
|Operator||FC United of Manchester|
|Capacity||approx 4,500 (TBC)|
|Broke ground||17th November 2013|
|Built||November 2013 – present|
|Construction cost||£5.5 million|
|Project manager||Frank Whittle Partnerships|
|Structural engineer||Scott Hughes Design|
|F.C. United of Manchester (proposed 2015– )
Moston Juniors F.C. (proposed 2015– )
The stadium was previously known by its project name: Moston Community Stadium. The name was changed after a members meeting in April 2014.
FC United of Manchester
FC United were formed in 2005 by a group of Manchester United supporters following the club's controversial takeover by Malcolm Glazer which led to hundreds of supporters defecting from the club. Without a stadium of their own they agreed to use Bury's Gigg Lane stadium, but the agreement continues at the cost of approximately £5,000 per match. Within a year, the fan-owned club set aspirations to build its own 7,000 to 10,000 capacity stadium as close to Manchester City Centre as possible by 2012 and consequently entered into negotiations with New East Manchester and Manchester City Council to develop their plans. Despite attendances averaging over 2,000 in their first few seasons, the fact that the club only had access to a stadium of its own on its match days was a contributory factor in the club's financial loss for three years (£42,267 in 2007, £40,669 in 2008 and £9,663 in 2009).
Moston Juniors are a junior football club formed in 1993. The club has Active Sports and Charity Club status and was the first club in Manchester to receive FA Charter Standard Community Club status. The club signed the lease for Ronald Johnson Playing fields in 2007, with work to improve the site being completed in 2009 due to a £300,000 grant from Manchester City Council and the Football Foundation. The club had further plans with the help of a proposed £750,000 council grant to build a clubhouse and upgrade their pitches, however they were unable to secure sufficient additional funding to make the project happen. Moston Juniors are now entering a partnership with FC United and Manchester City Council so they can lease the new ground facilities.
The site initially proposed for the stadium was Ten Acres Lane in Newton Heath where FC United planned to build their ground on an existing leisure centre and Astroturf outdoor football pitch. The plans indicated that these community facilities would have been maintained within the new scheme. Newton Heath is 2.8 miles (4.5 km) east north east of Manchester city centre and has close links to Manchester United, who were formed in the urban area and were originally known as Newton Heath LYR Football Club between 1878 and 1902. The connection with Newton Heath may have been a contributory factor in its selection for the location of FC United's first stadium. An FC board member said, "You can't get away from the emotion of the location but this is as much about our future as the past and we are a club laying down our roots".
On 4 March 2011 it was announced that Manchester City Council had backed out of plans to fund the new stadium with grants, despite the fact that the previously agreed £1.5 million was close to being raised by fans.
After backing out of the Ten Acres Lane site, Manchester City Council stated that they were still committed to helping FC United build a ground in Manchester in time for the beginning of the 2012–13 season and on 5 April 2011 it was announced that, after considering three possible alternative sites, Ronald Johnson Playing Fields in Moston was the preferred location for the stadium to be built according to Manchester City Council.
Ronald Johnson Playing Fields
The playing fields in Moston were purchased on behalf of the workers of Johnson's family metal working and fabrication business (Johnson, Clapham and Morris). Ronald Lindsay Johnson (24 September 1889 to 29 May 1917) was serving as an Acting Captain and Divisional Trench Mortar Officer but was mortally wounded by a German shell whilst traveling from Zillebeke Lake. He was the youngest son and sixth child of William Henry and Agnes Morton Johnson (née Brown) of Woodley, Dunham Massey. He graduated from King's College, Cambridge with a BA in 1911. He joined the family business, working at the Australian branch in Sydney but returned to the UK to enlist after World War I broke out.
He was promoted to lieutenant in early 1916 but was wounded by a rifle bullet near Martinpuich later that year during the Battle of the Somme. After short recuperation back at Endlsleigh Palace Hospital, Caxton Hall and 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester he returned to duty just before Christmas 1916. As DTMO for the 23rd Division, Johnson was responsible for co-ordinating the targeting and positioning of mortar batteries and it was during preparation for the Battle of Messines when he was mortally wounded on 29 May 1917. His grave is at Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium (Plot II, Row D, Grave 1). He had ascended to chairman of his family business following the deaths of his father in February 1914 and his brother William in July 1916 and his will (compiled before Christmas 1916) originally left his shares in the family business in trust for the benefit of the employees of the firm; but when this bequest was deemed to be impractical, the trustees decided instead that eight acres of land should be purchased for the staff and the playing fields and recreation ground were opened in the presence of his mother on 17 June 1925.
In April 1934, following the relocation of the Richard Johnson, Clapham and Morris Ltd firm to Trafford Park, the playing grounds were offered to the Parks Committee of the Manchester Corporation for £2,400.. At the time, the ground was described as being fenced all round with iron railings, containing bowling greens, a number of tennis courts and a cricket pitch, together with two well-built pavilions.
For many years the land was used for community events including football and funfairs. A cycle speedway track was built during the 1980s. In 2005, a 2.4 m green powder coated weld mesh fence with gates was erected at the perimeter of the fields. Around the same time, Moston Juniors became a registered charity in order to secure funding for the development of the site and they secured a lease in 2007.
Moston Juniors, still play on the site and will be accommodated into the new scheme. FC United general manager Andy Walsh has said that the original plans for the Moston scheme remained similar to the original Ten Acres Lane proposal with a total capacity of 5,000 expected.
Support and criticism
The proposal has not received the full support of local residents, with some residents organising protests against the use of the fields for construction of the stadium. Residents opposed to the stadium are concerned that it will lead to parking problems and devaluation of their property. There are also concerns about the loss of green space.
There are also Moston residents who support the stadium proposals, believing the stadium will provide sports facilities and activities for local children and teenagers, improving the overall health of people the area.
By the end of the consultation process 5,635 letters of support and 2,226 letters of objection were received. – of these 7,653 (97.3%) were "standard letters" with supporters and objectors simply adding a signature. There were also 6 petitions with 854 names in support and 1,420 names in objection.
The Executive Committee of Manchester City Council approved the proposal to site the ground development subject to a planning application and consultation with residents, local community groups and Moston Juniors FC in April 2011. Detailed information about the new facility, including the tentative name Moston Community Stadium, was released on 9 June 2011. The planning application was submitted in July 2011.
A decision by the planning officers from Manchester City Council regarding consent had to be moved from 15 September to 27 October due to the volume of interest in the application. The Head of Planning recommended that the Committee were "Minded to Approve" the planning application subject to a total of 42 attached conditions including the signing of an agreement for the site to have community use, an ongoing travel plan and off-site parking provision. At the planning meeting on 27 October, Manchester City Council approved the planning permission for the new stadium.
Current status and construction
The club signed a Section 106 and lease agreement in July 2012 which activated the planning permission which had been granted subject to the 42 conditions recommended by the Head of Planning back in October 2011. Many of these conditions would be routinely applied to applications, such as the ground must be completed within three years (July 2015) and the building matching the submitted drawings. Other conditions include the recommendation that FC United not play any home games when Manchester City are also at home, or there being a major event at the City of Manchester Stadium due to the grounds being just over 3 miles apart and the possible impact on traffic and car parking availability within the area. Floodlights on one of the community pitches must be switched off at 8pm, with the other pitches being allowed to operate until 9pm.
The club's original target was to open the Ten Acres Lane site in August 2012. However, several delays ensued including the change of site to Moston and a 13 week "cooling off period" after the successful application. The FC United board initially identified a tentative start date of May 2012, but a legal challenge to the council's decision delayed this for nearly 18 months until work finally began in November 2013.
Construction began in November 2013 and was scheduled to be completed by September 2014. The completion target was to be 40 weeks after building has commenced. The club hoped to kick off the 2014–15 season in their own ground. However, some difficulties with the pitch and the liquidation of the engineering firm contracted to build the St Mary's Road End of the ground, has led to delays. The current estimated handover date is May 2015.
The Moston Community Stadium was the project name for the ground announced in the summer of 2011. However, the ground name was chosen by the members, known as "co-owners" at its Annual General Meeting on 10 April 2014. The members were able to propose suggestions and these were reduced to a shortlist of seven.
- Broadhurst Park
- FCUM Hall
- Lightbowne Road
- Ronald Johnson Ground
- The Boardwalk
- United of Manchester Stadium
The name was announced as "Broadhurst Park" on 11 April 2014 Land in Moston was donated to Manchester Corporation in 1920 by cotton manufacturer Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst, 1st Baronet, as a recognition of victory in the First World War.
After the planning approval was granted, local residents hired barristers to consider an appeal against the decision. The activation of the planning permission allowed solicitors on behalf of a group called Residents United Residents Association (RURA) to launch its Judicial Review Pre-Action Protocol, which challenged the council's decision making process. One of the original areas for appeal revolved around historic covenants on parts of the land, but the Charities Commission ruled that the fields are not charitable land.
The residents gained legal aid to launch the judicial review and argued that there were flaws in the planning process. The review took place on 18–19 December 2012 in Manchester to decide whether the council's planning process was legal. The judge reserved his decision for a month, but decided to reject RURA's claim to quash the planning permission. The final legal action from RURA came to an end after an unsuccessful challenge was made to the Court of Appeal in March 2013.
With the judicial review over and the lease signed, FC United have to complete their fund raising during the build. The development fund target was originally £500,000 with fans having raised £446,000 at the time of the planning decision – but £250,000 of this had been spent on that planning procedure. The overall cost of the Moston scheme is higher than originally planned at Ten Acres Lane and the development fund target is now £600,000. A community share scheme target is now also £100,000 higher at £1.6m – with £1.3m raised before the scheme was put on hold following the uncertainty of the original proposal. The club had applied for grants in the region of £1.5m, with £650,000 originally agreed by the City Council, plus a further £850,000 coming from the Football Foundation, Sport England & other grant bodies.
The current funding package is in place to raise the £5.5m required:- 
- £2,000,000 FC United Community Shares scheme (target reached on 26 Feb 2015)
- £300,000 Development Fund (£486,000 raised, but £250,000+ spent on fees – a further £114,000 to raise)
- £550,000 Manchester City Council (approved January 2012)
- £750,000 Sport England (Iconic facilities fund, stage one approval given. Funding approved in principle December 2011)
- £150,000 Football Foundation Stadia Improvement Fund (approved )
- £500,000 Football Foundation Community Facilities Fund (approved )
- £300,000 Government grant, Community Assets and Services Fund (announced January 2014)
- up to £500,000 Manchester City Council loan (approved January 2012 to bridge any funding gap if required)
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