DARLINGTON’s new stadium has reached an important milestone after the club’s two preferred potential sites received approval in principle for football ground development.
Quakers general manager David Johnston revealed his intention to leave Blackwell Meadows for a new home in May, and club officials have been scouting potential development sites ever since.
An initial shortlist has been narrowed down to two remaining options, and although the club are not revealing any location details at this stage, the venues were discussed in a meeting with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and senior officials from Darlington Borough Council. Friday.
Although a formal planning application is required, both venues have been approved in principle, meaning Johnston and his fellow administrators can now begin developing and costing detailed proposals, with a view to kicking off the 2024-25 season. in a new house.
“There are a lot of things on the horizon, and the next two years are going to be very important for this football club,” Johnston said. “We had a very successful meeting last Friday with the council and with the mayor.
“We’ve talked about two sites, and both sites have gotten approval in principle, although there’s still a planning process to go through. We are working closely with the mayor’s office and with the council team to determine which site can be delivered the fastest, with the right infrastructure in place. But there’s no reason for either site to be turned down during scheduling, which is great news.
“So the next step now is to work out the detailed cost of the stadium and talk to the two different developers who have the business model venues. But it was a very exciting meeting last Friday, very good indeed. I’d like to think that we could kick a ball around in the new stadium in the 2024-25 season.
In the meantime, attention will focus on the 2022-23 campaign which kicks off early next month, with Johnston happy with the team’s restructuring work which has been overseen by manager Alun Armstrong over the summer.
After signing striker Jacob Hazel at the end of last season, Armstrong added Marcus Maddison and Mark Beck this summer, and while there may be demand for new additions, Johnston has revealed the club have reached their spending limit.
“The fans did a fantastic job with ‘Boost the Budget’, but that budget is now spent,” he added, in an interview with the club’s website. “We may be looking to bring in a few players on loan from clubs in the North East to strengthen the squad and give us a bit more cover, but when I see fans saying, ‘We need this, that or the other “, the only way we’re going to bring in players now will be on loan from clubs in the North East because we literally don’t have the budget to bring in anything else. We’ve spent the budget now .