Thursday, October 6, 2022

Treetops may be site for Grays Athletic sports hub

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.”


  1. The initial plans for the Treetops site were supposed to have some great sporting facilities on the piece of srubland next to the school, a respite centre and a new access road onto the old A13 so no more school traffic would travel down Buxton Road. The two ward councillors, who were Thurrock Council Cabinet members initially voted for the plans in the Cabinet meetings but when residents started complaining about building on the green belt then started campaigning with residents against the plans.

    Thanks to their great campaign the respite centre was never built, the sporting facilities were never built and the relief road was never built so the roads to the school still get clogged with school traffic.

    Good luck to Paul Smith, who always has the wellbeing of his pupils forefront in his mind and I hope you can get those much needed respite facilities as part of the deal.

  2. Those of us who have long memories (and are somewhat longer in the tooth!) recall that the Club proposed the site behind the then, Torells School (now Treetops) nearly 20 years ago!

    I’m sure the Club’s Directors will be happy to discuss the Head’s ambitious plans. The other site (which the Council have indentified for the Club) is bigger and may be better for local residents as it is further away from local housing. Either way, it is about time the Club was given the support from the local authority that was so sadly lacking in the 1990s.

  3. Either way hopefully we will move back soon. The area of Grays has nothing to offer at the moment everything seems to be either be closing down or moving away, including the football club going to Rush Green. I hope this facility will get the go ahead somewhere in the area, would be nice to see something actually returning to the town instead of moving elsewhere.


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