U's unveil new stadium travel plans

COLCHESTER United has unveiled a plan to transport fans to its long-awaited new stadium for as little as £1 after striking a deal with a bus company.

Annie Davidson

COLCHESTER United has unveiled a plan to transport fans to its long-awaited new stadium for as little as £1 after striking a deal with a bus company.

The club and First Essex Buses launched the scheme yesterday which will see supporters taken to the U's new ground at Cuckoo Farm in free shuttle buses.

The courtesy buses will leave from Bruff Close near Colchester's north station to take fans to the new 10,000-seater ground.

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And people travelling by bus from within Colchester who show their season or match day ticket will be able to travel to the Bruff Close collection point for just £1.

The deal was struck between First Essex buses and Colchester United in time for the opening of the new stadium - to be called Weston Homes Community Stadium - at the start of next season.

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It is hoped the scheme will encourage U's fans to use public transport to get to the new ground on the outskirts of Colchester where one of the 700-odd parking spaces would cost £10 per match.

Secretary of the Colchester United Supporters' Association (CUSA), Roger Westlake, said yesterday: “The travel arrangements announced today are the result of months of hard work and co-operation between Colchester United FC and Colchester United Supporters' Association.

“We realised that for some the journey to the new Weston Homes Community Stadium will be easy but for those used to travelling to Layer Road it will not be as straightforward, given that there will be no on-street parking in a wide area around the new ground.

“The agreement we've reached with First provides tremendous value for money.

“Some fans will be able to travel to and from the ground free and for fans living within Colchester for just £1 they will be able to take a First bus to and from Bruff Close from where the shuttle buses will take them on to the stadium.”

Colchester United's chief executive Marie Partner said season ticket sales had risen rapidly in recent weeks as fans begin to prepare for the new season and the team's attempts to return to the Championship at the first attempt.

She said: “The club's priority throughout has been to see more fans able to support their team and to continue the atmosphere we always cherished at Layer Road.

“We believe that, having worked closely with the CUSA, the end result after lengthy discussions can only bear fruit for all concerned.

“In putting together a positive plan, with the assistance of First means we have been able to ensure affordable and convenient travel to make life easier for our fans.”

Bob Dorr, managing director of First Essex buses said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Colchester United and the club's supporters' association to provide safe, reliable and quality travel to the excellent new stadium facility.”

Colchester United is also in talks with train operator National Express to see if deals can be struck for fans travelling by train.

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