Sunday 26th December 2004

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Supporting Kentish Football


Margate's ground saga continues

The long drawn out saga of Nationwide South club Margate's redevelopment plans of their Hartsdown Park ground has hit another hitch, reports www.nonleaguedaily.com

Thanet council has once again insisted that proposals for a multi-million pound regrading programme at the stadium do not meet its stringent requirements.

It has given the club until January 4 to bolster its latest revised project and business plans that it says are unacceptable.

Council leader Cllr Sandy Ezekiel said: “We need a superior submission. We need to have documentation that will stand up to public scrutiny.”

The local authority set a series of guidelines in 2003 after the pitch was dug up and allowed to be overrun with weeds, terracing removed and stands bulldozed by the club as part of a development proposal.

For the last two seasons the project has become a politcal football passing between the club and the council, with fans caught in the middle, and the team playing its home matches at Dover Athletic and Ashford Town.

The loss in turnstile and promotions revenue has crippled the club financially and supporters and the management are keen to return to Hartsdown as soon as possible.

Cllr Ezekiel said: “Following detailed consideration of the documentation submitted by the club on December 9th and 10th, the council cannot progress the proposals further without certain key information.

“We want to move forward with the football club but we cannot accept this submission in its current form. The documentation it has submitted is not sufficiently robust or detailed.

“We will be happy to accept any updates and additional information along the lines we indicated in our discussions with the club until the council reopens for business in the New Year on January 4th.

“We require additional or supporting information for the December 9th and 10th documents to be submitted together with a much more detailed project plan and business case, so that the council can be assured of the viability and deliverability of the project.

“The council must have much greater detail as to how the project plan and business case had been built up, so that it can complete financial and due diligence checks over the material. We are a publicly accountable body. "

Margate chairman Keith Piper had little to say publicly about the latest set back. He said: “We were advised on December 23rd that the council requires more information. We will attempt to submit this for the January 4th deadline.”

Margate v Welling United
Nationwide Conference South
Tuesday 28th December 2004
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Ashford Town FC, The Homelands, Ashford Road, Kingsnorth, Ashford