Newport Football Club could be coming home to a ground closer to the town than originally planned.

Isle of Wight Council member for Newport North, Cllr Matt Price, has put forward an idea for a new community-based ground for the club in Seaclose Park.

Last year, Cllr Price helped to successfully fight a proposal to build houses on the entrance to the park, which is the site of the Isle of Wight Festival.

Now he has unveiled a plan to bring the club into the park, instead of the Whippingham ground already approved but some two miles from Newport town centre.

In 2018, permission was agreed to turn the Wessex League team's home, at St George's Way in Newport, into a retail park.
There are plans for a drive-thru McDonald's and it is rumoured Wickes could fill another of the retail units there.

If the new football ground at Seaclose went ahead, it would be funded by South Coast Leisure in place of the scheme at Whippingham.

Read more: How we reported the approval of Whippingham ground.

Cllr Price is also proposing community facilities to rejuvenate the park, including a major upgrade to the skatepark, to include new ramps and a pump track, with dips, bumps and jumps (instead of just ramps) for riders on any set of wheels to skate, cycle or roll around.

More widely, football and cricket pitches would be marked out in other areas of the park. There would also be new removable sports equipment introduced and walking and cycling routes upgraded.

The additional enhancements (including the skate park improvements) would also benefit from some of this funding.

The centrepiece of the plan is the new football ground with a grandstand, clubhouse, floodlights and the latest all-weather pitch – in the south-western corner of the park – that would be available for organised community use, while providing a new home for Newport FC who are currently hosted by footballing rivals East Cowes Vics.

Read more: How Matt Price helped fight off Seaclose homes plan

The new ground – to the south of the planning offices and to the west of the bowling green – would continue to be owned by the Isle of Wight Council.

Newport FC would pay a peppercorn rent (as anchor tenant), with a condition that other community uses – including women’s football, youth football and also sport for those with disabilities – should take place at the venue.

Cllr Price said: “Having seen off proposals to build 40 houses on land at Seaclose Park, it is right that we now look at how sports and recreational provision can be enhanced in this location.

"We have the opportunity to create both a top-class new home for Newport FC and also an excellent recreational facility for wider community use, along with a significantly improved skatepark (incorporating a pump track), similar to what has been put forward in Freshwater. It is well worth exploring, particularly as we need more outdoor facilities for people of all ages to enjoy.

“As local member, I can see that providing a new football ground in either location would work but the Seaclose alternative ensures that Newport FC remains in Newport, while also being much more accessible and offering greater immediate community benefits.

“The Seaclose option incorporates all the facilities included in the Racecourse plan – and more – so ultimately we have to decide which of these locations would be best."

The plan has been welcomed by Peter Westhorpe, Newport FC Supporters’ Trust secretary, who said: “A move to Whippingham would still give us a high-quality new ground, but I believe supporters would prefer this closer to the town centre if this could be delivered swiftly.

“Moving to Seaclose and bringing the club back into Newport would have its attractions for supporters and, as such, I welcome Cllr Price’s initiative.”

Tony Wake, chairman of Newport Football Club and director of South Coast Leisure said: “The Whippingham site is where we have planned to relocate the club and we expect to make a start on the build towards the end of the summer but, time permitting,

"I am happy to keep the Seaclose alternative on the table for now should the council and the public agree it is better option.”

Community organisations and education providers have already expressed an interest in using the new football ground

To provide feedback to Matt on this proposal, please visit or email by Monday, March 1.