Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Homeless Grays Athletic still hoping to get a new stadium on greenbelt land

GRAYS Athletic is applying, along with retailer Group 1 Automotive, to build a vehicle inspection centre with parking for 1,207 vehicles at a former football ground in Aveley.

The club would get a new stadium at the site in Ship Lane.

But objectors say the plan would destroy a green buffer and increase pollution.

Grays Athletic, which currently plays in the Isthmian League North Division, have been without a home for 13 years. If the plan went ahead they would take over the old Thurrock Football Club ground.

Director Glyn Jarvis, told a planning meeting of Thurrock Council the club, which has a 130 year history, was in the last chance saloon.

“We are 100% owned by our supporters, a true community football club,” he said.

“We have been homeless since 2010. We understand the Ship Lane land has been valued at £3m by the selling agent.

“We could never afford to buy this site. Through this planning application we will be given the stadium for free. If approved we will bring the dilapidated ground back to life after five years of it lying completely dormant.

“This is the last chance saloon for our football club.”

The council had 220 representations in support of the plan, but 56 objections and a 618 signature petition against it.

“The football club will be the sole beneficiary of this application and it will not be for the benefit of the general community of Purfleet or Aveley who are both against this plan,” said John Rowles, chairman of the Purfleet-on-Thames Community Forum.

“The application will destroy one of the last green buffers between the M25, A13, Purfleet-on-Thames and Aveley. We suffer from some of the worst air quality in the area which will be made worse by the increase in vehicle movements.”

The planning committee voted to defer a decision and a linked one which would see a 3G pitch and changing rooms built on council land at nearby Belhus Park Lane, Aveley, for a site visit.

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