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SCFF meeting with Mike Wolfe, Elected Mayor,
City of Stoke-on-Trent

Wed 2nd March ’05, Civic Centre, Stoke

From Mayor’s Office:
Mike Wolfe (Mayor)
Simonn Adderley (Political Assistant)

Terry Hughes
Laurence King
Bryan Shaw
Tony Tams
Andy Harrison
John Patterson

This was the second of a proposed series of meetings between the Mayor and the Fans Forum. For the Forum the intent is to identify and address issues associated with use of the Britannia Stadium as the home of Stoke City Football Club, along with the Council’s financial interest in the Britannia.

It has been clear from the outset that Mike Wolfe is keen to promote and see successful football within the City because of the benefits it could well bring, plus ensure that the Britannia stadium is utilised to its full potential as an asset to Stoke-on-Trent.

Issues that were raised at the meeting, and which the Mayor gave an undertaking to investigate were:

Roadside parking/double yellow lines:
In the vicinity of the ground this is the responsibility of the Highways Agency, and as such, the rules regulations and guidelines used to establish the use of double yellows make it very difficult to change them or to introduce alternative parking arrangements for match or event days. In addition many of the areas are residential and again it would probably prove unpopular to change even if it were possible.

Other parking:
There was considerable discussion about the availability and the condition of other parking facilities e.g. the designated parking areas around the Britannia.

Much of these fall outside the responsibility of the Council. However. Certain issues such as the utilisation of the SCFC parking site will be raised with the Club.

‘Park and Ride’:
There was considerable discussion about the development of ‘park and ride’ schemes for transferring people to/from the Britannia.

This was seen as potentially one of the most effective ways of alleviating congestion and parking problems in the immediate vicinity.

There was agreement that there would need to be some imagination and creativity in such schemes in order to make them effective and appealing to use.

For example, identify areas from which people could obtain food or drink such as pubs; or have child facilities; promote businesses in/around the city; parking areas designated for away/home fans; pick up points within towns; etc. Work would begin between all participants to develop a set of proposals, ideally to have something in place for the beginning of next season, though recognising it may take longer to complete.

Stadium Rail Station:
A possible option to be investigated for the future.

Pedestrian access:
There was some preliminary discussion about identifying any issues with regard to pedestrian access, and in light of the recent weather the ‘gritting’ of pavements was raised - the Council are investigating recent problems.

Vehicle/Road access:
The first thing to report is that preliminary work is imminent on the fly over/bridge that will come off the A50 and straight onto the Trentham Lakes site just above the Holiday Inn Express. The anticipation is that it will be completed end ’06.

There was again much discussion about ways to alleviate congestion/improve access and signing around the Britannia site and a number of points will be forwarded by the Mayor to the Council Traffic Dept.

Away Supporters Scheme:
The Mayor asked the Forum about the recent developments introduced by the Club regarding the Scheme. We pointed to the statements from the Fans Forum which stated that we welcomed the changes that had been introduced as a positive step forward.

Britannia Stadium ownership:
Mike Wolfe confirmed that there had been no recent contact with Stoke City regarding this matter.

The Forum raised a number of points with regard to policing and stewarding at home but more particularly at away games which the Mayor promised to raise with senior police officials. The Forum also expressed the wish to meet police representatives on a regular basis.

Overall, the meeting was a positive and frank one, where both sides, for slightly different reasons, wished to see a flourishing football club and stadium. There was a commitment for further meetings and to work closely to achieve a successful Stoke City and Britannia Stadium.

Please note:

The Mr Tony Tams listed as present is Mr Tams from the Official Supporters Group, and not Mr Tams from Stoke City FC