EAST THURROCK United bosses have gone on the record in order to give an update on the progress the club has made to secure a new ground.
A spokesperson for East Thurrock United told Your Thurrock: “Throughout this process we have been careful to keep our counsel so as not to put any false information into the public domain and to ensure that when we do say something it can be relied upon to be the truth.
“It’s been a great shame that there has been ill-informed speculation about our plans in the past, speculation which has in the end rebounded on many of those who made it and damaged the local sports community infrastructure in East Thurrock.
“However, we have been continually working to ensure a sustainable future for East Thurrock United FC and that work is on the verge of beginning to bear fruit.
“As is already known, ETU FC have been liaising with Thurrock Council to designate our existing ground as suitable for housing. That proposal was in conjunction with our hopes to purchase the Pegasus Club and keep it alive and kicking as a sports hub for the whole local community. Both those ideas were supported by Thurrock Council and councillors voted unanimously to include the schemes in their long term plans.
“Unfortunately we were not successful after a very long and protracted auction process in our bid for the Peg, though we submitted a significant offer. The door may not yet be shut on the possibility of our interest being revived but the clock on that is ticking very close to midnight.
“While the Peg process was evolving, we have also been in discussion with Thurrock Council about possibly developing the Billet Field at Stanford-le-Hope as a new ground and core to a wider sporting complex, upgrading the facilities there.
“Again, these discussions are very much a matter of public record and the local community have been consulted.
“It is fair to say we are close to reaching a conclusion with Thurrock Council but it would be imprudent to say more at present.
“Those plans will still have to go through the recognised planning process, though we hope to produce an attractive, eco=friendly scheme that enhances the local facilities without a negative impact on our prospective neighbours – who will all be involved in the further consultation process.
“All through this process we have also been keeping the Ryman League informed about our hopes and aspirations and whatever happens in the short and medium term we will be guided by them.
“Our hope remains, at present, that our migration from Rookery Hill to a new ground would be an immediate one, though obviously were it to be required we have considered the possibility of a short term ground-share and there are a number of clubs in the area that have indicated they would be happy to accommodate that.
“It is likely that detailed plans for a development at Rookery Hill will be put to Thurrock Council’s planning process in the next couple of months – discussions on that are ongoing and a preliminary submission has been made. With a luck and fair wind, we hope to catch up with that process with our plan for a new home.
“At some point in the near future we will be holding public meetings with the local community and those sports clubs displaced from the Pegasus (indeed we have already met with the Bowls Club) and we hope that together the sporting organisations of East
Thurrock will soon have a new multi-sports focal point with appropriate social facilities. Those plans include a 3G pitch which will be offered for local community use across a number of platforms.”