- Police and Crime Commissioner backs new stadium plan for Gloucester City FC
- City’s premier club has been ‘homeless’ since floods in 2007 wrecked its ground
- Sport is great for bringing communities and families together and for providing a healthy focus for young people, says PCC
- City Chairman Mike Dunstan looking forward to maintaining ‘excellent’ relationship with police
Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martin Surl has come off the bench in an attempt to prevent Gloucester City Football Club’s new stadium bid being kicked into touch.
Although the scheme has already received outline consent, the Tigers’ chairman Mike Dunstan approached the PCC, fearing Police opposition might lead to a U-turn by planners.
Among the criticisms in a strongly worded letter to Gloucester City Council, the Constabulary described the new look arena – designed to replace the Club’s original Meadow Park Stadium which has not been used since it was flooded in 2007 – as an inappropriate location with unsuitable access and parking. It also raised concerns around the layout and impact on the local area.
Mr. Surl said, “Technically speaking, the police make some valid and useful points. Perhaps, unfortunately for Gloucester, officers are working to specified criteria which relate to much bigger grounds than the chairman tells me they want to build.
“As I understand it, many Football League and Premiership grounds are in challenging locations but they have history on their side.
“Gloucester’s crowds are much more modest by comparison but I am assured by the Chairman that the club has an excellent relationship with the police and would coordinate closely for any major fixture so I’m sure there is room for compromise that will enable the development to go ahead.
“Sport is great for bringing communities and families together and for providing a healthy focus for young people. Gloucester City run multiple teams from the age of 8 through to the first team, which has an important social impact beyond the immediate locality.
“The club and its supporters also deserve great credit for the work they have done to bring their team back to the city when many in their position would have gone under”.
City Chairman Mike Dunstan said, “I had a very constructive meeting with Mr. Surl and I understand the difficult job the Police have to do. However, a stadium has existed on that site for many years and has been home to GCFC.
“Both the local planning authority and the local highways authority are satisfied that suitable and appropriate access arrangements are available both for the demolition, importation and construction phases and on match days”.