Shortlist is drawn up for Belle Vue

The overgrown Belle Vue stadium ground in Doncaster.

The overgrown Belle Vue stadium ground in Doncaster.

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A SECRET shortlist of developers has been drawn up as plans to redevelop Doncaster Rovers’ former home gather pace.

Doncaster Council has confirmed that it has started to draw up a list of preferred potential developers wanting to transform the crumbling Belle Vue site.

The site in Bawtry Road has been bulldozed then left to nature since the club moved to its current Keepmoat Stadium home in late 2006.

It is owned by Doncaster Council, but Irish-based company Westferry owns the lease, which it bought at same time as John Ryan took over Rovers in 1998.

Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment at Doncaster Council, said: “Together with Westferry, we will hold meetings with the shortlisted organisations to go through their proposals with the intention of making a decision on a preferred bidder for this prime gateway site in the near future.”

Since Rovers left, much of the former stadium has been demolished. The main stand was knocked down after it was seriously damaged in a gas explosion.

But the pitch and the terraces have now been taken over by thick undergrowth, and trees have also grown up on the pitch.

The site was originally expected to be re-developed as housing, and proposals where put through for planning permission, but the scheme fell through after the economy hit trouble.

Housing developments are expected to be among the schemes on the shortlist.

Mike Clynch, architect for Westferry, described the site earlier this year as a fantastic frontage.

He said: “There are not many sites in the country with that kind of aspect overlooking the racecourse and with such proximity to leisure facilities. It’s the best housing site in South Yorkshire.”