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Stadium plans get the green light.

Stadium plans get the green light.

Scott Hatley14 Mar 2014 - 10:00
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In a historic day for Aveley FC the plans to build a new ground and sports facilities at Belhus Park have been approved by Thurrock County Council.

Club Secretary Craig Johnson, who spoke on behalf of the club in relation to the new stadium proposals said;

"I cannot be happier. This is a result of a massive amount of work that has been ongoing for many years. A project like this takes a long time to deliver.

"We have had many false dawns along the way. I would like to thank the team from Elev8 and Sports Solutions for their great energy in making this possible.

"We appreciate there is still a long way to go, but the target of playing in our new stadium on the opening league fixture of the 2015/16 still remains our aim, and with more hard work, is definitely achievable.”

The council unanimously voted in favour of the development on the edge of Belhus Park, which will also see Aveley’s current Mill Field ground developed into a number of new houses as part of a separate proposal.

And now after almost 30 years of discussions and planning, the club can now look forward to the team walking out onto the pitch of their new home, with the club looking to move in for the start of the 2015/16 season.

The new ground will include a 3G full size pitch which will be used by the first team, along with another full size grass pitch adjacent. There will also be two mini soccer grass pitches and a junior grass pitch, along with the new club house and changing room facilities.

The only opposition to the plans came from the local Model Flying Club who currently use the land that Aveley FC intend to build on to fly their planes and Mr Hurley, who represented the club, made a number of points in opposition of the plans.

Among them he argued that the club was used by its members as a “release from the stresses of everyday life” and that flying the model aircraft “teaches its members a number of skills,” before ending his speech by saying that “if we lose our field, we lose the club.”

In his speech in support of the project, Johnson made the point that the new ground would be able to offer leisure facilities that the area “desperately needs” and that it would become part of an “ever growing local community.”

He also argued that the facilities would “benefit many parts of the community, and not just those who want to play football” and that its sides would no longer have to “frequently have to train and travel elsewhere” due to poor weather.

After clarifying one or two sticking points in both applications – regarding the access road at the current Mill Field site as well as the relocation of the Model Flying Club – the decision to agree to both proposals did not receive a single opposition vote from councillors.

The project will cost in the region of £2.8 million and will be almost entirely funded by the sale of the club’s current Mill Field ground and the surrounding land, and as part of the proposal work will not be allowed to start on the Mill Field site until the club has moved into its new home.

In his statement, Johnson finished by saying "we will continue to play at Mill Field until the new facilities are available so there will be no upheaval to the club and our supporters, which is something I have been keen to ensure.

"Once again my sincere thanks to everyone that is making our dream a reality."

Aveley’s first team manager, Justin Gardner tweeted after the decision was made “Wow, that’s it @AveleyFC will have the best ground in non-league. Amazing news now the new ground can be built #2015 #aveleyfamily”

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