Fans decide: It's Wheeldon Mill

Chesterfield FC supporters have voted in favour of a move to Wheeldon Mill.

Chesterfield FC supporters have voted in favour of a move to Wheeldon Mill.

Almost six out of ten fans gave the thumbs up to the concept of a switch from Saltergate, the club's home since 1871.

Votes cast in the CFSS-organised ballot revealed that 58 per cent of those who took part wanted the club to persue a new stadium on the town's old dog track at Brimington.

The rest — 42 per cent — wanted to stay put at Saltergate.

Voting was organised by the Electoral Reform Society and the ballot — the first ever of its kind — attracted an 82 per cent response.

The CFSS board, chaired by Phil Tooley and the club board, which runs the club on a day-to-day basis and is chaired by Barrie Hubbard, both backed the proposal for a move.

Tooley said: ''The scale of the vote for Wheeldon Mill gives the Society a mandate to move cautiously towards seeking planning permission for a ground for the future of the football club and a ground for the future of the community, something we can all be proud of architecturally, something to act as a beacon for community activity in the Chesterfield area.

''There's a huge amount of work to be done now.

Detailed designs and costings must be prepared, environmental and traffic impact studies have to be carried out and final searches for the right partners to ensure there are no unacceptable financial headaches to leave future generations of supporters of our club.

''Planning permission is not our divine right, we need to work closely with Chesterfield Borough Council and local residents to enable us to submit a plan that meets the aspirations not only of our supporters but of the council and also our potential new neighbours.

''The vote in favour of Wheeldon Mill is a great example of democracy in action, we hope that the coming months will continue in the democratic vein with all relevant parties being willing and able to be active in creating a venue our whole town can view with pride.

''The vote to move is merely a trigger point, we need to seek to win hearts and minds, including the hearts of all of those fans who voted to stay at Saltergate, that can only be done by moving things forward in a sensible and pragmatic way.

''CFSS has an objective to make football a much more important element of the entire community and the members of our Society will demand that we take this great opportunity to firmly cement the place of one of the world's oldest club's indelibly and positively into the heart of our great town."

Hubbard was also pleased with the outcome of the ballot.

He said: ''We are delighted with the fans' verdict because Wheeldon Mill provides the best chance to secure the future sustainability of Chesterfield FC.

''This is the start of an exciting new era for the football club and the community it serves.

''It is a huge community project that can have a major positive impact on the town. The enormous amount of work that is now required over the coming months will be overseen by a joint working party of CFSS, CFC and the current owner of Wheeldon Mill.''