WORCESTER City FC's hopes of a stadium at Perdiswell could lie in tatters - after the council's new Labour leadership agreed a Green Party demand to hunt for another site.

In return for allowing Labour to take control of Worcester City Council, the Greens have hatched a deal to explore "alternative" locations.

The dramatic development would see the council fund the costs of a brand new planning application elsewhere, confining the Perdiswell dream to the dustbin.

Worcester Green Party, which holds 'kingmaker' status at the Guildhall, says it "does not favour the football ground being sited at Perdiswell" and used that tactic as a crucial part of its negotiations which swept Labour to power.

The group holds the balance of power despite having just two of the 35 councillors, and now wants to find what it calls "the best site for Worcester" away from Perdiswell.

It comes despite Worcester Labour Party making the club's Perdiswell bid a centrepiece election pledge, with its leader Councillor Adrian Gregson a strong long-term backer of the project.

As recently as Saturday evening, three days before last night's takeover of the council, Labour released a statement asking the other political parties to "back the club in establishing its home at Perdiswell".

But the Labour leadership needs Green Party support in order to run the council effectively, which is notorious in its opposition to the stadium bid and wants it located elsewhere.

A new cross-party working group will now be set up including one Tory, one Labour and one Green councillor, alongside a club representative and council managing director Sheena Ramsey, to hunt for alternatives.

To get over the club's concern over the costs, if a suitable new site can be found taxpayers' cash will be used to fund the bill for a new planning application.

Councillor Stephen told your Worcester News it was a "big step", but added: "We want to genuinely look at all other options to try and find somewhere else.

"This is the starting point for cross-party working, we do think it could go somewhere else so let's find a better place."

The Green Party also released a statement which said: "The Green Party does not favour the football ground being sited at Perdiswell.

"A cross-party group of councillors (one from each party, Labour, Conservative and Green), chaired by Worcester City Council's managing director will work with officers and representatives of the club management and the supporters' trust to identify alternative sites and select the best site for Worcester.

"The council will make a sum of money available to Worcester City FC to help them create a new planning application for the chosen site."

The Green councillor sitting on the new cross-party working group is likely to be Neil Laurenson, who represents the St Stephen ward Perdiswell park sits in.

He was re-elected just under two weeks ago with a hefty majority, largely on a ticket of being anti-Perdiswell for a new ground, winning him big backing among the nearby electorate.

Councillor Gregson, newly-installed as the Labour leader of the authority, told the Worcester News he still preferred Perdiswell, but agreed to the approach.

"We're more than happy to look at the range of sites in detail and have that conversation with other people," he said.

"It doesn't mean Perdiswell is off the table, while we favour Perdiswell I'm also on the record as saying if the club found another site which is better, we'd support them."

He said the agreement was something he'd already suggested to the previous leader, Tory Councillor Marc Bayliss.

But club bosses say they fear the latest twist in the long-running saga could lead to fresh delay.

Worcester City FC vice-chairman Colin Layland said: "We are quite happy to talk, but we needed something done yesterday, so to speak.

"The Perdiswell bid has been going on for a long time, what other sites are there?

"But at least they are being open about it."

The club has been exiled at Kidderminster Harriers' Aggborough since 2013 after leaving St George's Lane.

The application for a new 4,100-capacity ground on Perdiswell Park, submitted in April 2014, has been bogged in difficulties and has attracted around 1,400 public comments, with more than 1,000 of them in support.

Petitions both for and against the Perdiswell stadium bid have attracted 1,000 names each.

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