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Meadowbank Delay: Frequently Asked Questions
Posted: 16th March 2018
Following today’s announcement by Mole Valley District Council that the Meadowbank Stadium will not be ready to open in March, Dorking Wanderers has compiled the following answers to some of the key questions raised by the delay – including information for ticket holders.
Why has the stadium opening been delayed again?
Quite simply, the stadium isn’t finished, so it can’t open. When the opening was delayed in February, a new schedule of work was agreed between Mole Valley District Council and their contractors to enable the stadium to open in March. Those outstanding elements of the building work have taken longer than agreed with the contractors. The Council reports that the contractors have let them down and say they will be discussing the reasons with them.
So when will the stadium actually open now?
We have been told that the stadium will be fully open in time for Dorking Wanderers to train and play pre-season there – and potentially earlier. No new date has yet been set for the opening because, understandably, no one at the Council wants to name a date until they are absolutely clear that the schedule being put in place to complete the construction will be achieved.
Why has Dorking Wanderers said it definitely won’t move into the new stadium before the end of this season?
Dorking Wanderers is a community-based club, run by volunteers. Moving to the new stadium takes a considerable amount of effort and each delay is a very substantial cost to the club, with both wasted financial outlay and lost volunteer hours. We owe it to our staff, supporters and sponsors not to put any more time and money into the move until the stadium is fully operational. Therefore, with just six weeks of the season remaining, it makes sense to see out this campaign at Westhumble and then move in during the close season, by which time the stadium will be operational. Also, we will then be able to commit to some dates for a series of big summer opening events for the whole town to enjoy.
Will Dorking Wanderers be automatically relegated if the stadium isn’t ready by 31st March?
No. With the support of Surrey FA and Mole Valley District Council, the club is in discussion with the relevant football authorities about meeting its obligations. We have applied for a dispensation for extra time at Meadowbank but, in the absence of that, we will carry out the small amount of work required to bring our existing ground at Westhumble up to standard before the deadline. Either way, we fully expect the situation to be resolved positively within the next few days.
I’m a ticket holder for the league game between Dorking Wanderers and Leatherhead, which was meant to be the first game at Meadowbank. What’s happening with that game?
The game will now be played on the same date, Tuesday 27th March, at our current home ground in Westhumble. As a local derby and the first time Dorking will have hosted a competitive match between the two Mole Valley clubs, the game is still bound to be a big night with a large crowd. All tickets will remain valid and we hope as many people as possible will still want to come along and support their respective town. However, for any ticket holders who no longer wish to attend the game, a full refund will be available for applications up to 26th March. Ticket holders will soon receive an email explaining how to apply.
I’m a ticket holder for the league game between Dorking Wanderers and Billericay Town, which was scheduled for Meadowbank on 17th April. What’s happening with that game?
The game will now be played on the same date at our current home ground in Westhumble. All tickets remain valid. However, for any ticket holders who no longer wish to attend the game, a full refund will be available for applications before 16th April. Ticket holders will soon receive an email explaining how to apply.
What’s happening now with The Healthy Kitchen that you announced this week?
The Healthy Kitchen is the new eatery in the Dorking Wanderers lounge at Meadowbank offering freshly prepared, well-balanced meals, eat in or takeaway. It will be open 7 days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, and so, as soon as the stadium construction is complete, we will announce an opening date and invite local people to come and enjoy a new style of football club lounge. This is likely to be well before the first team moves in for next season.
What’s happening now with the One Mile Club for local residents that you announced last week?
The One Mile Club is a free membership being given by Dorking Wanderers to more than 3,000 households within a mile of the stadium. It will offer the local community reduced priced admission to home matches and discounts for The Healthy Kitchen. Following news of delays in the stadium construction, we have suspended door-to-door distribution of the membership leaflets planned for this week. Once we have a new opening date, we will reprint the membership cards with the same benefits and deliver them to everyone in the one-mile area.
What are your plans for the opening event in the summer?
It’s going to be a big celebration of football and of Dorking finally getting the stadium that will benefit the whole town, and that everyone can be proud of. Expect a big summer’s day out in Dorking, with first-rate football and celebrities. More details will follow in the coming weeks and months – but it will be worth the wait.