New lease of life for AFC Ludlow football ground

The new owner of AFC Ludlow Town's SBS stadium today said he hoped to develop it into a 'thriving sporting facility' for the local community.

Local businessman Matt Davies said the lifting of a historic covenant on the site in Bromfield Road meant local hockey, rugby and athletics clubs could now use its £2 million facilities, which includes a state of the art full size 3G artificial pitch.

It comes after it was revealed Mr Davies, who runs Showtime Security Ltd in Craven Arms, was the head of a consortium that had agreed a deal to buy the ground for an undisclosed sum.

The new boss said he hoped a possible star of the future – inspired by the success of London 2012 – would take advantage of the site to help further their careers.

He said: "As part of this sale a restrictive covenant has now been lifted, which had ruled that the site and its associated training facilities could only be used for football and related social activities.

"The sale means the stadium and its highly-regarded third generation artificial grass pitch can now be opened up for use by local hockey, rugby and athletics clubs as well as by people who have discovered a love of sport following the 2012 Olympics."

The sale of the ground was concluded with the help of joint receivers Begbies Traynor, the company that was brought in last year in an attempt to tackle the club's cash flow problems and mounting debts.

Steven Williams, a partner at Begbies Traynor, said it was the 'best possible deal' for everyone involved.

He said: "The sale of the stadium has not been straightforward as we had to overcome some title and boundary issues.

"It is excellent news for the people of Ludlow that the future of the stadium has been secured and the site has been opened up for use for other sports."

He said the deal would not have been possible without the hard work and determination of Nick Holcombe, the chairman of the former football club and a director of Ludlow Stadium Facilities Ltd.

He added: "Credit also needs to be paid to Marstons Brewery and Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, for their ongoing support and assistance with the sale."

Ludlow Town went into receivership last year after failing to clear debts believed to total more than £400,000. A new phoenix club – AFC Ludlow – was formed under the company name Ludlow Stadium Facilities Ltd and has been leasing the ground.

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