COUNCILLORS have thrown out proposals for the local authority to enter negotiations and bid to buy Bury FC.

An emergency motion instructing Bury Council to immediately express its interest and put together a business plan for purchasing the football club was rejected at the town hall last night.

Instead, the council voted to continue supporting the work of the rescue board with the aim of developing proposals over the next nine days to readmit the club to the English Football League.

Cllr Sandra Walmsley, who put forward Labour’s amendment to the Conservative motion, also said that the council will work with Forever Bury, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and local MPs to develop a “credible plan” to rebuild the club by the end of the year.

She said: “We need a clear strategy which enables new investors to come forward and for the club to continue playing league football at Gigg Lane.”

This comes as Bury North MP James Frith revealed that there are three parties interested in buying the club which was recently expelled from the football league, saying that he wants others to make themselves known in the coming days.

Bury FC fan and season ticket holder, Cllr Clare Walsh, who represents the area in which Gigg Lane is located, warned that the proposal to enter negotiations would “derail” the work of the rescue board.

Fellow Redvales councillor Tamoor Tariq accused the Conservatives of unfairly raising people’s hopes, describing the proposal as unrealistic.

He said: “It’s not a simple case of purchasing Bury Football Club. It comes with some very severe risks which include paying off former football players and staff, inheriting the CVA ¬– which in itself would a significant debt to HMRC – and it also includes the loan which stands at £3.7m which has also caused some difficulty from potential people who have been looking to purchase the club.

“I think it’s our duty to support Bury Football Club but also we have to manage expectations and manage communications and the tone that we’re setting for our borough tonight. We have to be responsible about this and I think it’s important we don’t set those expectations to a level where people feel that they’re not being able to be achieved.”

The Tories argued that the potential purchase would “only” cost the council 13 times more than it spent on buying the Istanbul restaurant in Prestwich, suggesting they value the club at £6.8m.

Cllr James Daly, who tabled the emergency motion to buy the club, told councillors that the local authority had nothing to lose by agreeing to investigate whether it can purchase the football club.

The Conservative leader accused the ruling group of “political point scoring”, mocking their praise of MP James Frith and their insistence to continue supporting the work of the Labour-dominated rescue board.

He said: “I’m astounded. You’re not interested, so why bother even talking. I find it extremely sad. You could have done something tonight, but you chose not to for the worst possible reasons.”

The Conservative’s deputy leader, Cllr Nick Jones, argued that the local authority must step in as other councils like Stockport have recently done to save their football clubs.

But he suggested that Labour’s opposition to the emergency motion may be more sinister than responsible.

He said: “We simply cannot stand by and watch the demise of Bury, though I do wonder if the end game with some people is housebuilding.”

Council leader David Jones praised the Conservatives for their passion, saying that both sides of the chamber have the same “end goal”, the only difference is how to get there.

The Labour chief also explained what could happen if the stadium, which is still in ownership of Steve Dale but mortgaged to a third party, is sold for development.

He said: “The land on which the ground sits has specific planning status in effect that means that if that land was to be redeveloped, the developer would have to provide an equivalent or improved facility elsewhere in the borough."

Cabinet member for finance and housing, Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, also said that the stadium is designated as a community asset.

This means that should the site come up for sale, community groups would have up to six months to raise funds and bid for the site before it goes on the market to private developers.