St Albans City FC opt for Green Belt Stadium

St Albans City FC chairman John Gibson has threatened to take his team out of the city unless he can get backing for a new stadium plan.

Mr Gibson, chairman of St Albans City, wants to move his newly-promoted FA Conference squad to a 10,000-seater stadium on Green Belt land at the end of the M10 in Park Street. But if the move does not go ahead, he has warned that he will consider taking up an offer of land in Hatfield for a new stadium.

Mr Gibson, boss of his own building firm, believes a move away from Clarence Park is essential if St Albans City is to become a major force in non-league football. He said: "The plan will include an element of social and private housing and the sale of those houses would finance the construction of a football ground."

But Cllr Chris Brazier, the council's portfolio holder for planning and conservation, said there were vast traffic implications for this area.

He went on: "As much as we would wish to support the football club's promotion there is no way we could even consider a scheme like this at present."

He pointed out that the impact of the proposed Helioslough giant rail-freight terminal on Park Street and the rest of the district was already causing massive concern.

LibDem councillor for Park Street Aislinn Lee described the land as totally unacceptable for the club's relocation.

"Although the land is mainly owned by the council it is Green Belt and could not be released for housing as we have already met our allocation needs," she added.

Mr Gibson said: "We need a bigger stadium to get bigger crowds to get a bigger squad. If the council won't get behind us then I may have to take up an offer of land in Hatfield.

The sale of Green belt is still a relatively new concept in the UK, although there are now several major retailers of land for sale in the UK, including PropertySpy plc, who ironically are also based in Saint Albans. For more information on green belt land and planning permission, please visit www.propertyspy.com.

Date: 01.06.06

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Clarence Park, St Albans

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