A FOOTBALL club is on the move after doing a deal with Dudley Council to lease one of the borough’s sports grounds.

Gornal Athletic have announced they are leaving their home of 70 years at Garden Walk to play at Burton Road sports ground.

The club agreed a 25-year lease with the council to use the facility although the move still requires planning approval.

In a statement the club said: “This is an exciting chapter for the football club as we are able to expand our footballing teams and collaborate more closely with the local community.

“Our new home will create a central venue for all our youth teams and first teams (men and women) with plans of up to 21 pitches available. 

“The new venue will be proud to host a new stadium complete with classrooms to support education programmes, outdoor multi use basketball/netball court, outdoor gym, bar and catering facilities all available to sponsor and hire.”

Negotiations have been taking place with the council for the past year.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “Last year we went out to the open market to lease the Burton Road playing fields for sports use.

“We have agreed a long-term lease, subject to planning, with Gornal Athletic.

“I am pleased that this will ensure the site continues to be a focus for sports in the local community.”

The club, which plans to install a 4G pitch at the site for community use and hire, said: “Whilst we understand fans may feel disappointment in moving away from Garden Walk which has been our home for over 70 years, the time has come to move away from an old and tired venue. 

“With the increasing attendance and use, Garden Walk is becoming unsafe and does require significant investment.”