Swifts considering options after rejection of new ground proposals

HEYBRIDGE chairman Gary White says the club will now consider its  options after the disappointing decision by Maldon District Council to reject Swifts’ plans for a new ground.

The council’s planning department decided this week to refuse two planning applications which would pave the way for a new community-focused facility for the Bostick North non league football club.

Application 16/00150/FUL (which you can find full details of by clicking here) was for an all-weather, practice and youth team pitches, with a new access road, car parking, sound attenuation bund and landscaping on land east of Drapers Farm, off Goldhanger Road, in Heybridge.

And application 16/00154/FUL (which you can find here) was for 101 new homes and associated landscaping and road works on the site of Swifts’ current ground off Scraley Road.

The club would urge all those in favour of the plans to click on these links and leave a comment in support of the project.

White, who took over as Swifts chairman last year, said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the decision of the council, who had previously been supportive of the stadium scheme as it stood.

“We feel that preventing a facility that would house approximately 20 youth teams, local schools, a post 16 education centre, as well as a senior football club that has been part of the community since 1880, is a backward step.

“It would also create a number of jobs and unlock the current site for over 100 much-needed homes in a region where many cannot afford or are unable to purchase due to a lack of availability or supply.”

White explained that the project would also help tackle the problems of a lack of health and fitness provision for local residents, and boost the opportunity for positive community engagement in the area.

He added: “When I hear of people opposing the stadium because the ‘floodlights will be seen in outer space’, I really do despair and realise why so few people take an interest in politics these days.

“As a club, we will now meet over the next few days and discuss the options open to us.

“We are understandably disappointed and feel we are owed an explanation for the apparent change of policy from Maldon District Council.

“We have a football club to be proud of, run by some great people who give their time voluntarily – and that has not changed.

“We have had worse obstacles to overcome in our 137-year history and, rest assured, we will overcome this one.”