Mast move will effectively relegate Blues - Manser

Whitby Town chairman Graham Manser has blasted plans to relocate the mobile phone mast away from the Turnbull Ground - insisting the move will effectively relegate them.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 12:20 pm
Updated Friday, 18th November 2016, 11:22 am
Whitby Town could be facing financial crisis

The two phone masts have been at the ground since 1995, providing the club with around £14,000 a year in crucial operating funds.

Those funds could be taken away when a planning application by O2 and Vodafone to move their operations to Whitby RUFCs’ Showfield base is heard next Thursday.

If the move goes ahead, Blues chairman Manser insists the club will be effectively relegated from the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

This week's Gazette back page

“This would be catastrophic for the football club,” blasted Manser.

“If this goes ahead, it would effectively relegate us from the Premier Division.

“This would be calamitous for us, I can’t believe they could accept a planning application based on lies and false truths like this.”

An angry Manser continued: “I have to stress, we are not blaming the rugby club, but Scarborough Borough Council are doing everything in their power to get Scarborough Athletic back to their town, but they turn round and treat us like this - It’s diabolical.”

This week's Gazette back page

Richard Anderson, who has been representing Whitby Town FC through chartered surveyors Cell:CM, is also left baffled by the decision.

Anderson said: “The planning application is based on false truths, we were negotiating new terms with O2 and Vodafone but they’ve led us down the garden path and approached the rugby club to put a new mast up there.

“It’s only by chance that we heard about this last week and have tried to find out what is happening, the process has been ongoing since September.

“The application states that they’re looking for alternative premises for a mast as Whitby Town Football Club have served notice, which is a total lie.

“This situation isn’t looking good for Whitby Town.”

Manser insists that should the phone masts leave the Turnbull, Whitby Town won’t be able to maintain their status in the Evo-Stik Premier.

The news comes with Chris Hardy’s side flying high at the top of the league and could have huge knock-on effects in terms of playing budget.

“If this goes through, I can’t stress just how catastrophic this would be for us,” a hugely disappointed Manser added.

“They may as well just say they’re relegating us there and then.”

The planning hearing is next Thursday November 24, the club have appealed.