Tilbury FC want to sell their existing ground at Chadfields for housing and relocate to the adjacent North Field (which they own) to build a state of the art community stadium. As well as providing a new home for the football club, with a floodlit all weather pitch, it would also be available for the use of the community. What’s not to like about a scheme from a forward looking local football club that would create a lasting asset for the surrounding community?
Well, the planning officers at Thurrock Council don’t like it because they think the stadium will be too intrusive and would harm the green belt: Tilbury FC face green belt battle as officers recommend refusal of new stadium plans. From what we’ve seen of the plans, the new stadium which preserves the shrubland that fringes the site and also looks to include some new tree planting would enhance what is currently a bit of a bleak location.
Given the numerous social benefits the proposed new stadium would bring, it’s a mystery why the planning officers are recommending refusal of the application. Planning is not just about aesthetics, traffic movements and the like, it’s also about the social impact of a proposed development. Which in this case, is a positive one. Tilbury arguably has more than its fair share of social issues. An asset like the new stadium with facilities such as a community hall, cafe, etc. as well as an all weather pitch, would play a significant part in helping to deal with those issues.
The next meeting of the planning committee is on Thursday 7th January. Anyone who cares about the community in Tilbury and the future of non-league football across Thurrock needs to be lobbying their councillors to persuade members of the planning committee that the proposed new stadium should be given the go ahead. With East Thurrock United looking to re-locate to a more suitable location and Grays Athletic still looking for a permanent home, what gets decided on Thursday 7th January affects not just Tilbury FC but all non-league clubs in the area.
When it comes to Tilbury FC vs the planning officers, we’ll be very firmly rooting for ‘The Dockers’!