THE council is to investigate ways it could push to secure the future of the Sixways site in a landgrab from its new owners following a call by the city’s mayor.

Cllr Adrian Gregson, the mayor of Worcester, proposed making a direct plea to neighbouring bosses at Wychavon District Council to look at using its compulsory purchase order powers to seize the land at Sixways on the edge of Worcester from new owners Atlas to ensure its future is secure.

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Worcester Warriors were set to return to Sixways next year in a controversial deal with Stourbridge RFC but new owners Atlas say Wasps have agreed to play at the stadium.

The club went into administration last September but was bought earlier this month by a consortium led by former chief executive Jim O’Toole and former player James Sandford.

The city’s mayor made the call in the Guildhall this week over his “remaining concerns” at the situation at Worcester Warriors following last weekend’s meeting between the new owners and more than 500 fans.

Cllr Gregson said: “I’d still say there are concerns about what aiming for a high level of rugby means … about the nature of any agreement with Wasps, and what that entails and how long for, I think there remain concerns about Stourbridge, who are clearly in a predicament themselves … and the fundamental issue of the need for a fit and proper owner or partner, which the Rugby Football Union (RFU) clearly do not see in Atlas otherwise they would have accepted the earlier proposals.

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“With those remaining questions about funders and motives … I believe that safeguarding the future of the site is of paramount importance.”

He said he was not asking Worcester City Council to secure the site – as it does not have the power to anyway – or instructing Wychavon District Council to buy it instead, but ask council bosses to consider using their powers to make the future of the site “clear and permanent.”

Councillors eventually passed a heavily-amended motion asking the managing director to write to Atlas expressing concerns about plans for Sixways.

The council also agreed that Cllr Gregson's suggestion would be put to the policy and resources committee to consider.

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Despite receiving support from councillors, city council leader Cllr Chris Mitchell said he “had no question over [the mayor’s] intent” but felt the move was a “bit sledgehammerish” and he would “feel a bit miffed” if another council decided to “make a very strong recommendation” without first talking to him.

Cllr Mitchell said it was “purely a courtesy thing” as he was a “bit uneasy” immediately calling for purchase orders.

“I don’t disagree with you I just don’t want put the backs up of Wychavon District Council who get the letter and say ‘who the hell do Worcester think they are?’” he said.

This article has been amended to clarify that two separate decisions were made on how to proceed regarding the suggestions raised at council.