Gloucester City AFC to keep up fight for new stadium
THE Tigers are still roaring despite a massive setback in their bid to bring Gloucester City Football Club back home.
An outline planning application to press on with development work at Meadow Park, ravaged by floods in 2007, has been denied amid flooding and access issues.
Supporters turned up on mass at Tuesday's planning meeting, held at the North Warehouse in the Docks, complete with flags and banners but their enthusiasm was soon dampened by the bad news.
A representative from the Environment Agency spoke at the meeting about how the planned flooding defences, could, while protecting homes in the vicinity of the stadium, affect homes up and down stream.
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Councillor Mary Smith (Lab, Matson and Robinswood) said: "We would be completely irresponsible if we approved this.
"We have to take the emotion out of this and look at it in a planning way. I have a great deal of sympathy for the club, but we don't have the right to give them the green light."
Councillor Andy Lewis (Con, Quedgeley Severn Vale) said: "This doesn't just affect the club, it affects the whole city.
"But there is still a long way to go, we can't accept this as it is. We need to know if we will be doing harm or not should we approve it."
Councillor Phil McLellan (Con, Barnwood) said: "We can't approve this, but the club need some level of certainty so they can move forward."
In response to the news, club chairman Nigel Hughes said: "It is very disappointing.
"We feel a bit let down by the council to be honest. They have helped us a lot in the past, but we have done everything they have asked and still it is not enough.
"We will remain optimistic though, it's all we can do. We will still keep fighting. But things need to start happening quicker than they have been. This will kill us if it drags on."
Meanwhile, Matt Phillips, chairman of Gloucester City AFC Supporters' Trust, said: "Clearly the application has to be right but for this to succeed we need our councillors to start understanding our situation and what we contribute to the city.
"I don't think some of them fully understand what is at stake here, this isn't the Dog and Duck FC, it's the sixth tier of the biggest sport in the world in the most football-mad country in the world."
The silver lining is that a technic technical group will now be formed of representatives from highways, the environment agency and the football club itself, to progress plans to bring the club home.