TREETOPS school, based in the heart of Blackshots in Grays has issued a cautious welcome to any proposals for Grays Athletic to move back into the area and possibly into their grounds.
Grays Athletic moved away from Bridge Road in Grays in 2010. The land there is now a Weston Homes housing development. They played at East Thurrock’s ground in Rookery Hill, Corringham but now plan to play at Rush Green in Romford.
The club have been in discussions with Thurrock Council regarding the possibility of a ground in the far corner of the Blackshots playing fields.
But in a interesting twist, Treetops school have revealed that they have had informal talks with the council regarding the “potential development of sport and leisure facilities at the school”.
Headteacher at the Buxton Road school, Paul Smith said: “Treetops School has had informal talks with senior individuals at Thurrock Council and others regarding the potential development of sport and leisure facilities at the school
“Treetops has a long-published ambition to benefit both the whole of Thurrock’s special needs community and the local neighbourhood by providing appropriate and top class sporting facilities, such as those drawn up and approved in the original planning application for our new Special Needs Schools campus.
“There has been speculation about Grays Athletic Football Club building a new ground on land that is currently used by the school.
While we have had no meetings with Grays Athletic, we are happy to publicly say we support the idea of Grays Athletic having a ground in the Grays area; We also believe that instances when a town’s football club and schools such as ours, work together as part of the same community, can only be a good thing
“If by working together, we can enhance and improve the lives of the young people we support and at the same time benefit the local community through the provision of new facilities, then we are happy to explore all possibilities.
“We would expect to consult with the local authority and local residents in a wholly transparent manner should any discussion go beyond the current speculative stage.
Grays bosses are still exploring a number of possibilities in the area.
Speaking to YourThurrock, chief executive Andy Swallow said: “We have a number of plans and are open to persuasion and to persuade.
“We would be looking to speak to Treetops school in the very near future.
“We are speaking to local community groups this month and are striving to keep everyone in the loop.
We can only echo the headteacher’s words in that we want to bring football back to the area but also enhance sporting opportunity for all the residents.”