Thursday 19th February 2004

Margate's future still unclear
by Peter Barnett www.kentonline.co.uk

Time is running out for Margate Football Club's acting chairman Keith Piper to put an acceptable project to Thanet council for the Harstdown Park stadium development.

The latest project is a £6.75 million plan, including a rebuilt stadium and hotel.

Thanet council leader Cllr Sandy Ezekiel said: “The council’s position remains the same. We will not move forward with any project at Hartsdown Park until we have seen concrete business and funding plans. This is the critical area, as it is where the previous schemes fell.

“Mr Piper and the council had discussed the reinstatement of the ground to enable soccer to be played there again when he approached us and said he had a new plan with funding, developers and operators in place.

“We welcome any scheme that will keep Margate FC alive but we must have the properly secured assurances that it will go ahead.”

Cllr Ezekiel said that “time is running out” for the latest scheme. He stressed: "We cannot wait indefinitely and we are already looking at other options to keep Margate FC in existence.

“If the club ultimately has to drop down a league from the Conference to allow it to continue, then so be it.”

Cllr Ezekiel met on Monday with residents who live near the ground. He said: “They are clearly concerned. They see yet another scheme for the club coming forward and they want to know what is going on.

"I understand their feelings and I have assured them they will be kept informed of every development.”

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