new lease of life for former football ground, thanks to former student

Julian Lovelock, Pro Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham at Ford Meadow 130516M-C397
Julian Lovelock, Pro Vice-Chancellor of The University of Buckingham at Ford Meadow 130516M-C397

The former home of Buckingham Town Football Club has been bought by the University Of Buckingham.

The university has acquired the 3.58-acre site at Ford Meadow, thanks to the generosity of one of its former students, Matthew Proud, who now lives in London.

Matthew Proud

Matthew Proud

Ford Meadow was the home of the Robins until May 2011, when the ground’s owners, property development company Sherm, forfeited the lease after the club had fallen into rent arrears.

Over the past two years, the site, which includes the football pitch, two stands, a clubhouse, changing rooms and a large, hard area, has become derelict.

In 2011, Sherm announced its intention to build 10 to 15 luxury houses on the site, which is on the flood plain, but a planning application was never made.

This week, the university completed on a deal to purchase the ground for use as a sports facility.

It intends to restore the football pitch and to provide new courts for sports such as basketball on the higher ground next to the clubhouse.

The new sports field will be named after Matthew Proud,

University vice-chancellor Terence Kealey said: “It is a wonderful gift, for which we are extremely grateful.

“We have always put the needs of our students first. Ford Meadow enables us to provide them with much better provision for sport, enhancing their experience at Buckingham still further.”

The university will also explore ways in which the new sports field could be used by the community – and this will include talking to the football club.

Pro vice-chancellor Julian Lovelock said: “This has been given to us by a former student to provide sports facilities for the university.

“When we know what we’ve taken on we will be talking to people, including the Robins, to see if there is any way we can help the town as well as the university.

“It really is too early to say whether we can come to an agreement that is good for us and good for them.”

Robins manager Neil Griffiths said: “We plan to undertake positive discussions with the university about what opportunities this presents to Buckingham Town Football Club. In the meantime, this is great news for the town of Buckingham and we will assist them in any way we can.”