Aveley FC on the move but call for affordable housing

THREE green lights should signal the final lap in the race for a new ground by one of the Borough’s senior football clubs.

Aveley FC, who play at Mill Field in the town, are hoping to move to a new, purpose-built ground with an artificial pitch at nearby Belhus Park.

The cost of the new community development for the club, known as ‘The Millers’ will be met by developers Persimmon, who obtained three final planning approvals at last week’s meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee.

Full planning permission was given for the building of up to 114 new homes on the old ground, while linked applications over use of a ‘ransom strip’ and the access to and from the new housing estate were also approved.

While all councillors were generally supportive of the new ground and the benefits it will bring to the community, there were concerns that the developers were getting the site without making a significant contribution to affordable housing.

A previous viability study by the company had claimed that if they had to make provision for affordable homes, the scheme would not be viable.

This angered Cllr Gerard Rice who called for an affordable housing quota to be imposed, saying: “l can only say I am very disappointed there will be no affordable housing out of this.

“Where are the young people and families of Aveley going to live? It is outrageous that we have not got affordable housing.

“If developers can’t afford to build affordable housing, they should build less. I repeat, I am outraged.”

Cllr Chris Baker was also disappointed, saying: “We need affordable housing, but it’s not going to happen,” and Cllr Brian Little echoed their feelings, adding: “It would be nice if there were affordable housing, then we would have a genuine win-win situation.”

Aveley councillor Robert Ray was more enthusiastic about the scheme, saying: “It is a very good layout and this will provide a prime new facility for the local community.”

Officers informed councillors that any bid to attach affordable housing conditions at such a late stage, particularly as the scheme had received previous outline approval without, would very likely be overturned on appeal so in the end the three applications were approved.

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