Statement by Grays Athletic
IN 2010, the sale of the Recreation Ground at Bridge Road, Grays, the former home of Grays Athletic Football Club, by the Billings family to Weston Homes, was shrouded in mystery regarding any money that may have been made available to assist in reproviding a community football facility for the homeless club.
The club asked Councillor Gerard Rice to look into this on our behalf and he has obtained the following information via Thurrock Council from the public records on the matter. We are grateful to him for helping to clarify the position for us all.
The planning application for the redevelopment of the Bridge Road site (ref 10/50203/TTGFUL) was determined by the Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (“TTGDC”) in 2010 and a Planning Obligation Strategy payment (with interest) of £516,474.32 was made on 31 March 2011.
The Section 106 monies were all committed to the Grays Programme Board, who decided to use it as follows:
£88,936.95 – spent in 2013-14 – Grays Programme Board.
£53,599.80 – spent in 2014-15 – Grays Programme Board.
£100,619.32 – spent in 2016-17 – Committed to the Grays town centre regeneration framework
£40,998.00 – spent in 2016-17 – Grays Programme Board agreed for electrical improvement works on Grays High Street.
£99,876.74 – spent in 2017-18 – Grays Underpass – Access Steps and Ramps (Phase 1).
£47,881.62 – spent 2018-19 – Grays Underpass – Access Steps and Ramps (Phase 1).
£84,561.89 – unspent and committed to Grays Underpass – Access Steps and Ramps (Phase 1).
The TTGDC report from 2010 does not refer specifically to the need to make any re-provision of the football stadium/grounds and the obligations placed upon the developer were ‘standard’ infrastructure requirements which were used commonly at that time. The application documents can be viewed at https://regs.thurrock.gov.uk/online-applications/
We can assure supporters that your club board is continuing our discussions with Treetops School, the new Orsett Heath Academy and Thurrock Council regarding the provision of land for a community football facility in North Grays.
It is frustrating that progress on our plans has been slow, due to the Council’s Local Plan process being caught up in the Government’s consideration of the proposals for the Lower Thames Crossing (“LTC”) project. Large areas of land in the north Grays area, where the club would like to make provision for our expanding youth and senior football activity, have been blocked for development until the LTC proposals are agreed or abandoned.
The Council has recently announced that £1million is being allocated to the development of the new Local Plan which will play a significant role in the borough’s economic recovery. We will keep supporters advised as soon as we receive details of public meetings which will be arranged to discuss proposals in our area.
In the meantime, we are very appreciative of the support given by so many people to ensure our great club survives through these difficult times.
Keep safe and well.
The Board of Directors
Grays Athletic Community Football Club