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Bray Wanderers could exit Carlisle Grounds by 2021

Bray Wanderers could quit the Carlisle Grounds by 2021, according to their newly written five-year strategic plan. The 32-page document, seen by the Wicklow Voice, outlines the club’s vision from 2017 to 2021, which includes building a 4,500-seater stadium on a greenfield site and the possible development of the Carlisle Grounds.

Any new complex is likely to include state-of-the-art facilities including: two floodlit 4G training pitches, two grass pitches, parking for 200 cars, 3-4 adjacent houses or apartments for player use, astro cages, a sports hall, conference facilities for hire, club offices, a gym and a bar.

The document also states that the Seagulls plan to sign a three-year lease with St Joseph’s FC for Under 19, and Academy training facilities in Stepaside in January 2017. It currently costs €825k to run the club (rising to €1.1m as the club goes fully professional), with the club currently spending significant sums every year on training facilities in Dublin. Overall the ultimate strategy of the club is to move to a self-sustaining financial model.

The club’s current deficit is being funded by the current owners, something the plan makes clear cannot continue indefinitely. It is also hoped that the club will be clear of its legacy debts by 2020, including those owed to Revenue and the Local Authority. On the pitch, the club is aiming to finish in the top four in the league (they finished sixth this year) or win the FAI Cup, and subsequently win one match in a European competition, while increasing average attendances from 700 to 1,500 in the Carlisle Grounds before moving to any new ground.

Bray Wanderers strategic plan

The club also has extensive plans to further strengthen community relations and link with local clubs and schools. However it is the proposal to redevelop the Carlisle Grounds that is likely to lead to further speculation about the future of the site, which is owned by the Council and leased to Bray Wanderers for a peppercorn rent.

In the strategy, under the headline ‘Summary of Main Action Items and Suggested Timelines’, the club outlines its plan to:

Feb 2017 – Open talks with Local Authority on a new greenfield site leisure complex, to include discussions on a new function for the land at the current Carlisle Grounds

Apr 2017 – Agree Plan and commence site identification and Carlisle Grounds development plan

Dec 2017 – Identify site and apply for planning permission for site and for Carlisle Grounds development

Mar 2021 – BWFC begin season in new ground

No discussion with the Local Authority, formally or informally, are believed to have taken place to date.

For the full story see this week’s Wicklow Voice – in shops from November 25

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