Thursday 30th June 2005

Sport England gets behind Dartford stadium plans

Plans for Dartford Football Club’s new home at Princes Park Stadium took a leap forward this week when Sport England, the national sports agency, threw its weight behind the proposals following a visit to the Borough by the agency’s Planning Manager, Mick Anson, a statement issued by the council on www.dartfordfootballclub.co.uk reveals.

Sport England lodged a holding objection to the Princes Park proposals in May to allow the applicants more time to explain the community and sporting benefits of the scheme.

Mr Anson met with the Council’s sports regeneration officer Stephen Jefferson last week and toured a number of sporting facilities before formally withdrawing Sport England’s objection.

Jeremy Kite, Deputy Leader of Dartford Borough Council, said the decision to withdraw the objection was almost inevitable given the quality of the proposals but welcomed Sport England’s helpful input.

“I welcome constructive objections like those raised by Sport England because they help us see the project through others’ eyes," he said.

"Objections are a routine but important part of the planning process that help us to tweak the plans to be the very best they can be.”

Councillor Kite continued, "We share Sport England’s vision of sport as a way to improve whole communities.

"So many local problems – particularly those surrounding young people – can be helped by providing facilities that help youngsters engage with team sports.

"It may be a pipedream but we want to see kids fitter, happier, more motivated and aware of the importance of team spirit.

"These traditional values have become a little lost in the 'me, me, me,' generation".

"The Princes Park Community Stadium is a truly magnificent facility for sports clubs and the people of Dartford."

Stephen Jefferson said the visit showed just how much thought and planning has gone into sports facilities in Dartford.

"The visit by Mick Anson focussed on both the alternative facilities that the Council will be using whilst Princes Park is being built and the improved sports and community opportunities that will come with the new stadium.

The visit included a chance to discuss future sports aspirations in Dartford and we have agreed to prepare a Sports Development Plan to show how Dartford will benefit."