Setback for Gloucester City Meadow Park redevelopment plan
PLANS to bring Gloucester Football Club back to the city have suffered a setback.
An outline planning planning application went before the city council on Tuesday night in a bid to get permission to continue with the development of former ground Meadow Park, which was destroyed by the 2007 floods.
However, the permission was not given by councillors who had concerns about flooding issues, and also access to the stadium.
Holes were found in the application, and also a lack of detail was pinpointed when it came to identifying particular aspects of flood defence work, and how houses up and down stream of the ground could be affected in a potential flood.
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Despite this, there was some positive news in that a technical group will now be formed in an effort to progress plans to develop the site and bring The Tigers home. The group will be made up og representatives from the planning department, highways, the environment agency and the football club itself.
Writing in tomorrow's Citizen newspaper, Editor Ian Mean condemned the decision:
"It is extremely disappointing that Gloucester City Council’s planning committee have decided not to give The Tigers a far more positive feeling of support on their journey to come “home” to a new £5 million stadium at Meadow Park.
"What the club, backed by The Citizen, wanted was a little more confidence so that the man who is bankrolling our football club could invest hundreds of thousands of pounds more of his personal money for vital flood defences to protect a new stadium and the surrounding area of businesses and homes.
"The money involved for these flood defences alone is substantial - possibly up to £2 million which Eammon McGurk is willing to invest to help Gloucester City get into the football league.
"The Citizen respects the planners and the flood experts.
But following the planning committee meeting we urge them all to get a move on or out club will disappear without trace.
"Why has it taken over four years to get to the stage where we are today - frankly, very little further forward?
"Why is it that councillors and the Environment Agency have take so long to sort the flood defences and be clear what exactly the club has to do to get the green light to start the flood defence work?
"A question nobody seems to be able to answer coherently.
"Let’s be clear. After our county’s flood devastation of 2005 and the subsequent submerging of the Tigers’ ground, we understand the importance and huge responsibility councillors must take with any decisions on flood defences.
"The last thing The Citizen wants it decisions made in haste on flood risk. But isn’t four years enough?
"The good, positive move to come out of the planning committee meeting is that they have now agreed to set up a technical group to take the flood defence plans for the club forward.
"But how long is that going to take?
"Meanwhile, a quietly determined Eammon McGurk waits in the wings with very little support from our city and the Environment Agency.
"One thing is certain. The Citizen will be monitoring the progress of the latest moves in this saga to put our football club back on the map for the community.
"And we will continue to monitor the progress of our planning, highways and Environment Agency officers who must now step up to the plate.
"The city should count itself lucky that Eammon McGurk still retains his sanity - for the time being."