Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Still Hope for Grays Ath in Masterplans

The Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (DC) has offered an olive branch to Grays Athletic as the club still search for a new home.

The consultation period for the North Grays Masterplan (NGMP) has now closed. Grays fans were dismayed to find that there was no mention of Grays Athletic in the plans but a spokesperson for the DC explained why.

She said: “We have had very lengthly discussions with Grays Athletic in order to help identify a site for them. However we have not received any planning applications from the club in respect of the North Grays plan.”

Grays Athletic clearly see matters differently.

Director of Communications, Kevin Lamb said: “Plans had been submitted to the DC prior to and during the compilation of the NGMP which in the original phases of discussions were seen to be given the green light however, they now seem to be against any future development in the NGMP which will incorporate Grays Athletic Football Club.

“Having met with the DC we now feel that we no longer have a future in the development of Blackshots as they now appear to have gone back on their earlier proposals when Grays Athletic Football Club first approached them with The Hub Concept.”

The DC confirmed that they had received a planning submission from the fans of the club. They also confirmed that the door was still open for the club.

A spokesperson said: ” The Masterplans are in place to facilitate the regeneration of Thurrock for up to 2021.

“The door is still open for Grays Athletic to submit plans for North Grays and subsequent masterplans in the Thurrock area.”

Grays Chief Executive Mick Woodward will also be buoyed by the news that there may still be hope that the building of the new Ormiston Park Academy (formerly Belhus Chase Humanities College) may be built on the land he has leased.

Last month, the Tory cabinet agreed that the new £50 million Academy should be built on the existing site on Nethan Drive, Aveley and not on the site of the Essex Sports Village (Aveley Sports and Social) on Purfleet Road.

The agenda noted that Mr Woodward had offered to work together on the school project if it was built on his leased land.

But today, the Thurrock Labour Group have announced that the matter would be “called in” and discussed in future council meetings at length.

Chair of Thurrock Labour, Carl Morris said: “The Cabinet want to rebuild the school on the existing site on the Kenningtons Estate in Aveley while the majority of children attending commute from the Purfleet, West Thurrock and Grays areas.

“We feel new schools should, where ever possible be located as near a possible to the pupils attending them. Thus minimising the need to commute by car or bus. New schools should also be easy to get to and that may not be the case for its present location.

“We want to ensure this is the correct decision; made for the right reasons after all the options have been properly considered. The best way to do that is to have another look at.”


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