Care home plan to aid football club

A £5M scheme to rescue a beleaguered football club from dire financial straits by building a state-of-the-art care home on its grounds is to go before planners later this month.

The ambitious joint partnership between Harrogate Railway FC and Vida Healthcare would pay for a 66-bed care home for people with dementia on the site of its club house, creating 60 jobs. The money raised by the club from selling the land would help pay for a running track, four five-a-side football pitches, a junior football pitch and a new clubhouse.

Chairman Mick Gray said the club could have been forced to fold without the deal and the vast majority of supporters were backing the plans.

The proposals are set to go before Harrogate Borough Council's planning committee meeting on January 18.

Harrogate Railway FC was founded in 1935, by workers at the Starbeck LNER train depot and gained nationwide fame in 2002 after becoming the lowest ranked club ever to reach the second round of the FA Cup.

Vida Healthcare managing director James Rycroft said: "There is a real need for this and it will be a state-of-the-art facility."