Grays Athletic call for apology from councillors over misleading comments at meeting when their hopes for new ground were dashed

By Neil Speight

27th Feb 2021 | Local News

THE upset felt by Grays Athletic football club over the rejection of a planning application that would have seen them have a new home is to prompt a letter of complaint to Thurrock Council.

On Thursday evening (25 February) a planning application by the Group 1 Automotive Company to create a new car preparation plant in West Thurrock adjacent to the football stadium that used to home to Thurrock FC was rejected by the council's planning committee.

As part of their plan to win public support, the car company had offered to gift the stadium to Grays and the community.

However, in the wake of significant local opposition led by the Aveley and Kenningtons Community Forum, and supported by local ward councillors, the application was rejected.

That has angered Grays, who felt that some of the comments by councillors about Grays Athletic during the debate, were not fair to the club - and were inaccurate.

Grays Athletic chairman, Steve Skinner, said: "We are very disappointed with the outcome. Obviously, the decision to refuse the application is a blow for us, however, we also feel that some of the wildly inaccurate comments made by councillors on the committee were damaging to Grays Athletic and our reputation.

"This ultimately painted an unfair picture of the club in front of the other attendees and the large number of people watching the meeting online.

"We will be writing a formal letter of complaint on this matter.

"Grays Athletic have always respected the achievements of Tommy South in creating such a good facility at Ship Lane and ourselves and many others in the non-League family feel that it is a crying shame that it is not being used for community football in our borough.

"However, we as a football club have experienced many false dawns in the past decade and each disappointment seems to make us stronger as a group. We will continue with our goal to offer football opportunities to all in our community and look forward to discussing the plans for sporting provision in Thurrock with the council in line with their local plans."


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