Council and football club will work together towards an exciting and secure future

Published Friday, 18th June 2021

Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool United Football Club are to work together to explore ways of ensuring the club’s long-term future, including reviewing opportunities to create a new multi-purpose community stadium and regenerating the town’s Mill House area.

Since taking ownership of the Club, Chairman Raj Singh has funded a rescue package which has secured the short-term future of the Club. He has made some significant changes and together with the Club’s Board he is now in the process of identifying a vision and business plan to take the club forward in the longer-term in a sustainable manner.

The Council recognises the importance of the Club to the local community and supports this ambition. Achieving this will require long-term strategic planning and partnership-working.

HUFC signing

Raj Singh, Denise McGuckin and Councillor Shane Moore pictured after the signing

The goal is to create a club which provides not merely football but is a hub at the heart of the local community, providing a range of sport, education, health, business and event activities.

The Victoria Park stadium – which the Club leases from the Council - is approaching the end of its life, although the site itself is widely viewed as the most suitable and beneficial location for a sports stadium in Hartlepool.

There is therefore a need to explore redevelopment options for the stadium which would unlock commercial and community uses.

At the same time the upcoming replacement of Mill House Leisure Centre with a new multi-million pound leisure centre on The Waterfront provides the opportunity to explore collaborative options for redeveloping the Mill House site.

Today the Council and the Club signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which they undertake to work together, including:

  • Identifying options and establishing initial priorities for the redevelopment of the Victoria Park stadium and training facilities.
  • Contributing to the development of a shared vision and strategic masterplan for Victoria Park and the Mill House area of Hartlepool.
  • Working collaboratively to bring forward strategic development proposals which ensure the sustainability of the Club.
  • Jointly seeking project finance from external sources.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Hartlepool United Football Club is an important and much-loved part of life for so many people in Hartlepool.

“We are looking forward to working with the Club to help it become a dynamic force for the future, providing a wide range of benefits and opportunities across the whole of the community and secure in the longer term.”

Denise McGuckin, the Council’s Managing Director, added: “We are also looking forward to exploring with the Club options for redeveloping the Mill House site, revitalising this key area in the centre of town.

“All of this will take careful long-term planning and we are only at the start of these discussions, but there is exciting potential to bring major benefits to both the Club and the town as a whole.”          

Raj Singh, Hartlepool United Football Club Chairman, said: “We are delighted to sign this Memorandum of Understanding to work together with the Council – it represents a small but important milestone.

“Lee Rust has been working with the Club over the past year as Executive Adviser and he has played an important role in helping us to arrive at this Memorandum.

“Working together I hope that we will ultimately have the opportunity to create something special which can benefit the whole town.”

Lee Rust, Executive Advisor to Hartlepool United Football Club, said: “The Club has for many years talked about its aspiration to improve the stadium.

“We’re very excited about the potential for the Victoria Park and Mill House sites and we’re looking forward to working with the Council.

“We hope to not only be able to create a first-class facility for football but also a multi-purpose site that is commercially viable and sits at the heart of local community activity.”