DEVELOPMENT has begun on the affordable housing set to go on Wimborne Town Football Club’s Cuthbury ground, despite the agreement that the club’s new ground must be ready first.

The club is due to move to a new ground at Parmiter and a Section106 agreement made in 2018 meant the new ground had to be completed before the development could start at Cuthbury.

Cllr Maria Roe, at Dorset Council’s full council meeting on Tuesday, said: “I discovered in December that a Deed of Variation had been made which enabled the developer to start work on the existing site before completing the new football ground in Parmiter leaving the club potentially homeless. For a semi-professional team, and the local community, the consequences of this are catastrophic.

“The Deed of Variation was carried out through delegated powers without any scrutiny or consultation. The football club was not informed, the ward members were not informed, town council and parish councils were not informed, and this is simply not acceptable.

“My question to the portfolio holder is simply this: what will Dorset Council do to put this situation right?”

Cllr David Walsh, portfolio holder for planning, said the developer remains obliged to “evidence progress with the new football ground”.

He said: “No market units can be occupied on the Cuthbury ground until the new ground is completed. We are aware the developer has chosen not to renew Wimborne Town Football Club’s lease at the Cuthbury site when it runs out in May.

“The council is seeking to work with the developer to ensure the timely completion of the new football ground. We understand that the developer is currently aiming to hand over the football pitches to the football club in August, with the club house due to be handed over in September.

“Officers will be exploring options with the developer and the football club to seek a position where the football club has certainty for the interim period.”