ARDS’ dream of a new £1.37million stadium has been shattered.
The County Down team, who haven’t had a home ground since the demise of Castlereagh Park in 1998, had hoped to build a new floodlit 4,000 capacity only yards away from their former site.
But their proposals to develop the ground, on nearby Londonderry Park, were torpedoed by the Mount Stewart Estate.
Ards Borough Council received planning permission for the redevelopment in October, 2010, before obtaining permission from the landlord, Lady Rose Lauritzen, the granddaughter of Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, the seventh Marquess of Londonderry, who gifted the land to the people of Newtownards on a 999 year lease.
Councillors were informed of the decision by Mount Stewart Estate at their July meeting.
Club officials will now explore the feasibility of building their dream home – backed by Ards Borough Council – elsewhere, possibly on the Strangford Lough side of the Portaferry Road – again near their previous home.
A spokesman said: “It’s a sickening blow.
“It has been a long process, but we now must start all over again.”
Ards have been ground sharing with Ballyclare Comrades for the past number of years, but are due to move in with near neighbours Bangor for the new Irish League campaign.