Football's coming home to county town
By Annie DavidsonA FOOTBALL club's £1.5million move to a new home could be given the green light today.Chelmsford City Football Club has been away from the town for eight years and currently shares a ground with Billericay Football Club in south Essex.
By Annie Davidson
A FOOTBALL club's £1.5million move to a new home could be given the green light today.
Chelmsford City Football Club has been away from the town for eight years and currently shares a ground with Billericay Football Club in south Essex.
But the plan, to be discussed by Chelmsford Borough Council's planning committee tonight, will see the club move to the town's Melbourne Park in Salerno Way.
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It has been recommended for approval by council planning officers, but councillors will have the final say.
Melbourne Park, which is owned by Chelmsford Borough Council, is already the site of an athletics centre with a running track and badminton courts.
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A new football pitch would be created within the running track and a clubhouse and stand built on the site.
The pitch would be rented by the football club on a match by match basis, but the clubhouse would belong to Chelmsford City, which would lease the land from the council.
But the pitch would be leased to Chelmsford City Football Club for its first-team home games only so the use of the running track would not be affected.
Chelmsford Borough Council would lend the club £200,000 interest free towards the cost of the £500,000 clubhouse. It would also commit a further £1m to the rest of the development.
If the plan is approved tonight, work could begin by late summer with the facilities ready for use by early next year.
However, the council has received 54 letters of objection to the project. Fears have been voiced that it would cause noise and disturbance, exacerbate parking and traffic problems, and devalue property.
Chelmsford Athletics Club and the Women's Middle Distance Group have also sent in petitions to the council with objections to the scheme.
They included the conflict between athletics training sessions and football matches and the loss of grass training and warm-up areas.