North Lincolnshire Council has been forced to repay a £56,000 planning fee to Scunthorpe United after failing to determine its application for a new stadium in time.
The club says it submitted its planning application on August 2, 2018, and should have had a result by November 2 the same year, however nothing has been decided nearly 36 weeks later – a total of eight months.
Planning authorities are also required to repay planning fees should a decision be delayed for more than 26 weeks without a time extension agreement.
The new 11,000 capacity stadium is 200 seats less than the original planning consent granted in 1988.
Scunthorpe United Chairman Peter Swann, has previously been highly critical of the delay and has previously launched an attack on North Lincolnshire leader Councillor Rob Waltham.
Following the latest news, he said: “Councillor Waltham sought to justify the council’s continued delay of our application as a matter of the ‘process needing to take its course, which he could not interfere in’.
“The return of our planning fee demonstrates that the council have not followed due process at all.
“The club is in no mood to celebrate the fee announcement, given the circumstances and exasperation which has caused the club to engage its solicitors to recover that fee.”
The club says the stadium is “vital to securing the long-term financial viability” of the team and accused the council of jeopardising it.
It has called for a full investigation into the handling of the Lincolnshire Lakes project and the building of a new stadium.
The club had wanted to relocate as part of the Lakes project on land between Scunthorpe and the River Trent, which will create 6,000 homes and new community facilities.
But after various delays and complications regarding a site, the club were unable to build on the Lakes site.
North Lincolnshire Council has been contacted for comment.
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