Southend stadium plans held up by club says council

Plans for a smaller Southend United stadium at Fossetts Farm are being held up because the club has not supplied enough information, the council has revealed.

Last autumn, Blues chairman Ron Martin unveiled plans for a reduced-sized 16,226-seater stadium at Fossetts Farm, near Waitrose in Southend.

This was a reduction on the proposal for a 21,000 seater stadium, which has full planning consent.

The new application for the smaller stadium came alongside a revised proposal for new homes, both of which are still to be decided by Southend Council’s development control committee.

In the revised proposal, a plan for a hotel was removed which enabled 42 homes to be added to the scheme, making a total of 224 new homes in this phase.

Speculation has mounted on social media that the club’s dire financial position, which has left players unpaid, is putting the new stadium plans in jeopardy.

A statement on the council’s website, issued to be “open and clear”, said: “We don’t yet have all the information required from the applicant to determine either application. The applicant is aware of what is required and discussions are ongoing.”

The council said it wasn’t unusual for planning time limits to be extended and that it had no influence over the stadium plans. It said: “Over many years the council has been engaged in and supportive of the plans for the developments at Roots Hall and Fossetts Farm and the move to a new stadium.

“This includes in our role as the local planning authority, and also in a separate role relating to proposed housing transactions and projects at Roots Hall and Fossetts Farm. Although this would help to enable the stadium construction, it is important to be clear that the council is not involved in the financing or construction of the stadium.”

The statement added: “The council has been, and remains committed to the delivery of high-quality housing for local people across the city and we remain in discussions regarding the developments at Roots Hall and Fossetts Farm. We also remain supportive of the football club, which we know is so loved by so many.”

The club is also set to build 502 homes at its current site at Roots Hall. Citizen Housing LLP will facilitate the funding of both sites. The council will not be required to invest any capital in the development of either site.

Plans for additional new homes near the proposed Fossetts Farm stadium are in the pipeline.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter