Former Rovers ground sold for housing

The overgrown Belle Vue stadium ground in Doncaster
The overgrown Belle Vue stadium ground in Doncaster

One of the most prestigious housing development sites in Doncaster has finally been sold after lying derelict for more than six years.

Contracts have been exchanged for Barratt Homes to buy the former Doncaster Rovers Belle Vue stadium from Doncaster Council.

It has been empty and overgrown since Rovers moved from the Bawtry Road ground to the Keepmoat Stadium at the end of 2006.

The site is regarded as a prime ‘gateway’ to Doncaster, with its proximity to the Racecourse, The Dome and Doncaster leisure park.

The new homes to be built on the estate are bound to be sought-after because excellent transport links mean all that Doncaster has to offer is an easy drive or bus journey away, with the town centre about 10 minutes by bus.

Earlier plans for high-rise apartment blocks, formulated before the housing crash, were opposed by local residents and will not be resurrected.

Homeowners will have an excellent view of the nearby racecourse – home to the world’s oldest classic race – and will be only a stroll away from recently promoted Rovers’ new home and Potteric Carr.

Coun Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth, Tourism and Veterans’ Champion, said: “Barratt Homes’ purchase of the site will see this land, on one of the main routes into Doncaster, redeveloped.

“This is excellent news for Doncaster and it will be great to see the site, which is on a main access route, transformed.

“Doncaster Council looks forward to working with and supporting Barratt Homes to where possible employ and train local people.”

Local residents will be able to give their opinions about the development when Barratt Yorkshire East holds a public consultation exhibition to discuss its plans for the site with interested parties this Wednesday, May 22, from 4pm to 7pm, in the Conference Room at The Dome.

Paul Newman, managing director of Barratt Yorkshire East, said: “We are honoured to be involved in delivering a future for this important site.

“This development will provide new high-quality family homes and hundreds of jobs through the construction phase. This site further cements our commitment to investing in Doncaster and the town’s future.”

The 8.85 acre site was home to Doncaster Rovers from the 1920s and some of the club’s greatest players, such as Alick Jeffrey and Ian Snodin, played there.

Belle Vue was one of the first grounds to have floodlights which were installed after the FA lifted the ban on matches being played under floodlights in 1950.

At one time the pitch was the biggest in the Football League, measuring 119 by 79 yards, although manager Billy Bremner reduced the size of the pitch in 1981.

Belle Vue was the only ground in the country to have two tunnels for home and away players to run on to the pitch.

The Old Stand at the Town End of the ground was originally at the previous ground on Bennetthorpe, and was re-sited at Belle Vue when it opened in 1922.

The last match was on December 23, 2006.