MPs discuss return to Meadow Park
Ambitious plans to bring Gloucester City back to Meadow Park were the hot topic as a Government minister visited the city.
Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, joined officials from the Environment Agency and planning officers to tour the former home of Gloucester City Football Club.
The Tigers were forced to leave the ground in Sudmeadow Road in July 2007 after flood waters rose to the top of the cross bar.
The Citizen has launched a campaign with the fans to try get a proper home ground for the team.
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Yesterday, Mr Benn and Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda listened to the club owners as they discussed how raising the ground could be the answer.
A return to Meadow Park is one of the options for Gloucester City, who have vowed to be back playing in Gloucester by the beginning of the 2010-11 season.
The other possibility is Blackbridge, off Podsmead Road, on county council land.
After hailing the team's success, Mr Benn said answers were now needed off the pitch.
He said: "The club has had a very difficult time and it hasn't stopped them getting promoted which is a great achievement."
Planning consultants explained to Mr Benn how development around Meadow Park, the Tigers' home since 1986, had left the site vulnerable to flooding.
After an initial flood in December 2000 the land was deemed uninsurable and the third flood in 10 years hit in July 2007.
Mr Benn said he would look at plans to raise the ground carefully. He said: "The water has to go somewhere. If you build up around this area what will be the consequences elsewhere. Clearly the site is in a terrible state and that is the effect of flooding."
"Gloucester City clearly want to rise again from the difficulties they have experienced and they have already done it off the pitch.
"The question is can we find a long term solution."
The visit was organised by Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda.
He said: "We are on a journey to get this club back home in Gloucester and playing at the highest level.
"My job is to get people like Hilary Benn here to make sure the journey is as short as possible."
Yesterday, The Citizen also sent a petition of 330 names to the Football Association calling for the team to be allowed to play in Blue Square Conference South next season so their fans would have less distance to travel to games.
Currently, they are due to play in Conference North. A decision is expected in the next week.