Fleet increase seating capacity at Stonebridge Road
|Subject to getting final approval on
design and safety issues, Gravesend & Northfleet will now be putting
seats in the Northfleet End rather than replace the existing terracing,
The Nationwide Conference club had been unable to begin the work on the terracing until receiving clearance on the design and obtaining an extension to the lease on their Stonebridge Road ground.
The lease extension has been obtained but there are design issues that make replacing the existing terracing impractical.
A feasibility study has indicated that removing the existing concrete on the terrace so as to re-profile it in accordance with safety regulations may impact the steel stanchions that support the Stand roof and put the contractors at risk.
The cost of alleviating this risk or replacing the existing roof adds a substantial amount to the cost of the works as well as further time delays.
The club, therefore, has looked at various alternatives to come up with something that is safe and cost-efficient and have received a proposal from a seating company that would enable them to keep the existing roof at the Northfleet End whilst placing a new covered seating configuration with 513 seats on top of the existing terrace.
Chairman Brian Kilcullen said: “This whole saga
with the Northfleet End has given us nothing but problems. In an ideal
world we would have just re-terraced the whole area and got it back to the
way it used to be.
He added: “The Football Stadia Improvement Fund has supported our proposal at 50% of the cost and we would very much like to thank then for their invaluable support on this project
“I’m sure many fans will be disappointed if we have seats rather than a terrace behind the goal but we have no option. I personally often stood behind that goal because I enjoyed the atmosphere and am disappointed it has come to this”.
There are, however, some side benefits from the
club having to follow the seating route. They need to have an additional
500 seats under cover at some stage to meet the necessary criteria going
Brian Kilcullen confirmed there are some side
benefits. "We need 1,000 seats under cover to be able to meet
the criteria for the Football League should we be lucky enough to get
promoted," he said.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, it has been mutually agreed to cancel Manny Omoyinmi’s contract with immediate effect. This decision has been reached amicably between both parties following the player’s inability to force his way into a regular First Team slot so far this season.
Manager Liam Daish said:. “We had a tentative
enquiry from Lewes regarding Manny which I felt I had to make him aware