Four sites which could offer plan B for homeless Gloucester City FC
IF GLOUCESTER City's plans for a new stadium on the site of their old Meadow Park ground are destined for failure – then they may have to seek out an alternative site within the City.
After being flooded out of their home in 2007, the Tigers and Gloucester City Council did a recce of any available sites within the city boundaries that may have been suitable for development.
A total of ten alternative sites were considered, but quickly dismissed as not being suitable – among them Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium, The Railway Triangle and Blackbridge.
But following the September planning meeting where the plans were only 'minded for approval' by city council planners five new sites were put forward for consideration.
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One of them, noted only as "land adjacent to the existing site that has already been raised" will come with many of the problems associated with the existing Meadow Park plans.
However, four fresh, alternative sites have been picked out and maybe considered by the Football Club as they seek a return from their six-year exile from the city.
To the north of the City, and close to the Unilever factory in Barnwood and the Tenpin bowling alley is a section of land sandwiched between the railway line and the A417.
To the south of the city is land to the south of Grange Road in Tuffley, while to the south west is a plot of land called "Mr Mann's Holding" on Hempsted Lane close to the site of the open market.
The council also suggested the Civil Service Sports Ground off Escourt Road – an area of land that is currently at the centre of a dispute after it the freehold was purchased for just £10,000 by Redrow Homes.
The site is believed to have a sporting covenant on it, ensuring that it should be kept for leisure use – something that would suit City's plans – but the freehold may prove elusive.
All four of the sites and any further development at Meadow Park will be costly to bring to fruition however.
Tigers owner Eamonn McGurk revealed in yesterday's edition of The Citizen that the existing Meadow Park plans had cost in excess of £200,000 – even before the diggers moved in.
The Meadow Park plan also relied on using the land around the proposed new stadium for commercial purposes, in turn helping to pay for the estimated £5million cost of the build and flood defence work.
None of the four alternative sites offer excess land capable of turning a profit, so the cost of the stadium build will have to be found.
Meanwhile, concerned Tigers fans are hoping to have some of their fears allayed at a meeting with the club this evening.
McGurk revealed yesterday that the club's executive will meet tonight in order to plot a future for either Meadow Park or any new site.
As chairman of the Gloucester City Supporters Trust, Lee Mills will be in that meeting and he hopes that answers will be found.
In a statement released to The Citizen yesterday, Mills said: "Gloucester City Supporter's Trust are extremely disappointed to hear that plans for a new community stadium for Gloucester City Football club are on the verge of collapse.
"Over the past few years, the supporters of the club have been repeatedly told that a return to land at the Meadow Park site, raised and defended by a series of flood defence measures, was the only option viable.
"The latest developments cause concern that if these plans are not workable then where does the club go from here?"
The Trust was due to hold an emergency meeting after last night's game between the Tigers and Altrincham at Whaddon Road.
They are also seeking advice from Supporters Direct, the representative body for supporters trusts as to what their next move should be.