EDDIE Mitchell is confident that a brand new Poole Stadium would give football and speedway in the town “room to grow” after unveiling his vision.
The former Cherries chairman, who in December acquired a two-year majority share option in Poole Town, is hoping the Southern League side and Poole Speedway can be contained at the Wimborne Road site.
Revealing designs exclusively to the Echo this afternoon, Mitchell admitted there would be no place for Poole Greyhounds, who he had originally hoped to house under the same roof.
The Sandbanks-based businessman is targeting a minimum 6,000-seater arena which could rise to 10,000, with the facility set to include a football pitch, speedway track, sunken pits, nearly 500 flats, shops, restaurants, bars and parking.
Mitchell’s plans will go on display to the public on Friday, May 9 at Seven’s Boatshed restaurant in Poole Park and he believes his proposals present great opportunities for all parties.
He told the Daily Echo: “My vision is to get the football back to where it was and keep the speedway and make it a development worthy of one of the main gateways to Poole.
“This is an arena that will sustain a decent level of football and if it’s hosted right and run right, I think it’s a situation that would give both the speedway and the football room to grow.
“There is a strong following for both clubs and it’s just a win-win situation for everyone – the local authority, the developer, the football club and the speedway – on one of the best sites left in the borough.”
Mitchell, who estimated that the project would take a minimum of five years, admitted that logistical concerns meant he did not see greyhound racing as a viable part of his proposals.
He said: “A greyhound track pushes the width out and you push the spectators away too much and it doesn’t work, so something had to be sacrificed.
“Now I need to win various people over to let me take this further – the leaseholder of the stadium, the local authorities and the planners, and I need to find a developer to take it on, but those hurdles are not insurmountable.”
Poole Town vice-chairman Chris Reeves admitted that the club would realise “a dream” if they were to move into Mitchell’s proposed facility.
The now Tatnam-based Dolphins were kicked out of Wimborne Road in 1994 and are looking for a ground that would allow them to progress up the footballing ladder.
Reeves said: “It’s potentially a dream come true and it would be fantastic to return to our spiritual home. The development would be a real feature of the town and it could be iconic.”
Dolphins had a ground grading inspection on Thursday and are now awaiting the Football Association’s findings.
Following recent upheaval, the club needed to meet the C grade required not only to compete in the Southern Premier play-offs, but also to remain in the division next season should they not earn promotion.
For visuals of the proposed new stadium, see tomorrow's Daily Echo.