Decision imminent on plans for new Southend United stadium

The fate of Southend United’s ambitious plans for a 22,000 seater stadium will be decided “imminently”, councillors have insisted.

Council bosses and the club came to an agreement last year to ditch retail outlets in favour of homes in the proposal for Fossetts Farm, Southend, but the plans have not been voted on by the council’s development control committee.

Despite no firm date being set, Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, has insisted the plan is progressing after heads were “bashed together”.

The Blues were relegated last season, falling out of the Football League, but the club says it remains confident a move away from Roots Hall will still be a success.

Mr Woodley said: “Both Ron Martin, me and council officers have bashed heads together and said sort it out. There are a number of reasons to push this forward.

“The housing value with substantial numbers at Roots Hall and Fossetts, the building work and the jobs that will create as well. It will give the whole town a boost.

“It will give the club and the players a boost in terms of getting into a new stadium. It will be fantastic for everyone.

“I got fed up with it and went in and said move it on. I’m quite patient but enough is enough. Ron is determined to make it happen, there is no doubt about that.

“I think very soon there will be a special development control so we can get it done and get it moving.”

The stadium could bring £500million to the town and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

The project will see a new stadium delivered alongside 850 new homes.

The club’s current home at Roots Hall will be redeveloped into 502 homes for rent, under an agreement with the council, once the football club has relocated to the new stadium.

Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment, culture, tourism and planning, remains confident.

She said: “The stadium is going ahead.

“It’s a massive development so it takes a lot of working through.

“I know discussions are going on all the time with the club to bring it forward as soon as we can. The application has been the subject of a lot of negotiations but there will be a special development control meeting.”

Blues chairman, Ron Martin, was contacted for comment.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter