Sadiq Khan: Still attempting to murder London's oldest football club
London Mayor Sadiq Khan claims he wants to make London “the undisputed sporting capital of the world” – but not when it comes to its local non-league football clubs.
Cray Wanderers Football Club, who play their football in the eighth-tier of English football, the Ryman League Division One South, have received yet another setback from the London Mayor as they bid to build their own new stadium in Chislehurst.
The club submitted a planning application in early 2016 to Bromley Council to build a new home ground and community facilities on the site of Flamingo Park, on the A20 Sidcup-by-pass.
The application was approved by Bromley Council in April 2016, however, upon referral was later refused by Khan and subsequently became the subject of a public inquiry following the Secretary of State’s call-in decision.
Cray Wanderers chairman Gary Hillman said in a club statement: "The mayor has allocated and authorised £145,000 to fight the public inquiry, proving their resolve and resistance to our previous scheme.
“Upon legal advice, we have decided not to fight this battle and have therefore withdrawn from the public enquiry to instead approach our quest through a new proposal.
“The new scheme has been created through consultation with the London Borough of Bromley Council and the Greater London Authority and the Board aims to submit a new application within the next four to six weeks.
“What initially appears as a setback is a progressive step to work with the council, the mayor and the Greater London Authority to satisfy their planning concerns, but as importantly, to finally deliver our committed fans and loyal supporters a home for the oldest football club in London.”
Khan has agreed the stadium improvements at Premier League clubs Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur – and allowed West Ham United to move into the Olympic Stadium in Stratford - but is putting a non-league club’s future at risk by continually delaying their plans to move into a stadium of their own – which will be more beneficial to its community that it serves than two Premier League clubs.
Khan told the Evening Standard: “I want as many world-class sporting stadiums in London as I possibly can.”
Thankfully, Cray Wanderers’ current landlords Bromley, who now play in the fifth-tier of English football, the National League, have been very supportive over the years and have allowed Cray Wanderers to play their home games at Hayes Lane since 1999.