GRAYS Athletic have confirmed their interest in taking over a planned new community stadium on Purfleet.
The stadium at Ship Lane, the former home of Thurrock FC is being offered to the local community for use by a company seeking to create a car preparation plant adjacent to the ground.
Grays Athletic stalwart Glyn Jarvis issued the following statement: “Further to the article in this week’s Independent here is an update.
“In April 2019, Grays Athletic met the developers and were offered the football land at the site as a gift on behalf of the football community in Thurrock, subject to the developers being granted planning permission for their car prep facility.
“The board were asked to confirm acceptance, which we did within 24 hours. Our plan was to develop the stadium as the Grays Athletic Youth Academy for our youth teams and to make the facility available for community use for many other teams and leagues in Thurrock.
“We proposed to lock the community use into a legally binding agreement in order to secure the site in perpetuity for footballers of all abilities, including boys, girls and disability groups.
“We were due to meet the developer’s agent to go through the detail of the offer, but they pulled out of the meeting, citing the need to discuss the proposal with Sport England who are a statutory consultee on their planning application.
“As at today, we are seeking a discussion with Sport England to establish the terms under which Grays Athletic Community Football Club (registered as a Community Benefit Society, a non-profit distributing body and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) will be allowed to own, run and manage the facility on behalf of the football community in Thurrock.
“Meanwhile, we were delighted to hear that the Orsett Heath Academy has announced that they have been given the go ahead to open the first phase of their new school in North Grays in September 2020.
“We continue to work with the Trust that runs William Edwards School and the new Orsett Heath Academy to provide a new community football facility to meet the football needs in North Grays and the wider football community.”