Thursday 22nd September 2005

Gravesham Council support Fleet with new stadium plans

Gravesend & Northfleet fans received the news this week they have longed to hear - that their local council is working to find the club new home in the borough - and that the Fleet are the only team in town, reports www.gnfc.co.uk

Gravesham Council leader John Burden announced at a council cabinet meeting that the council are working with government agencies and the football club to move the Fleet away from Stonebridge Road, their home since being formed in 1946.

He also emphasised that a new stadium would be for them alone, scuppering overtures by Coca Cola League One side Gillingham to move to the borough.

Cllr Burden told the meeting, held at the Fleet Social Club: “The club and the council have worked together to allow the club to operate the Fleet Leisure Centre to provide it with a new training facility. We are now hoping there will be a new football stadium as part of the development of the Northfleet Embankment site.”

Specific details of the location are yet to be revealed, but it will be near to Stonebridge Road, close to the river Thames. Part of the site is currently occupied by a cement factory which is due to be decommissioned by 2008 according to owners LaFarge.

“I have made our intentions clear to the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)” said Cllr Burden. “The timescale for the development is over the next few years and I will be presenting details of our plans over the next six or seven months.”

“The council monitor how well the Fleet are doing and we are aware of the club’s position in the Conference. The feedback we are getting is that there is only one football club for Gravesham and that is Gravesend & Northfleet FC. We are working with the club to further their aspirations.”

He praised the work of Fleet Chairman Brian Kilcullen and his directors before addressing the issue of Gillingham’s interest in moving to the club’s back yard. “If any club in the country approaches us with a planning proposal to bring that club to the borough we have to consider it, but we are Gravesham and our local club is Gravesend & Northfleet. Our prime interest is Gravesend & Northfleet Football Club and securing their future. The way Gillingham are playing at the moment the clubs could be playing each other next year.

“I haven’t spoken to Gillingham for five months but I hold monthly meetings with representatives of Gravesend & Northfleet.”

Speaking exclusively after the meeting he said: “ I never promise anything I can’t deliver.”

Brian Kilcullen was delighted with Cllr Burden’s public announcement: “ I have regular meetings with the council and they have always been very supportive of what we are trying to achieve, as highlighted by the Fleet Leisure project.

"It’s nice that they have now had the chance to explain to the public how much they believed in us and how much they want to support us in the coming years.

"It’s great for the football club and fair play to the council for what they have done for us and I hope our relationship continues over the coming years. We have one of our regular meetings with the council this week and we are also in a regular dialogue with SEEDA and will continue along that path.”

Gravesend & Northfleet v Kidderminster Harriers
Nationwide Conference
Saturday 24th September 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet