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Club News

General and Stadium Update

28 April 2020

So “lockdown” is set to continue, at least for most of us.

I think we can all agree with that decision. Whilst disruption to our lives, it is nothing compared with the overwhelming sadness coronavirus has brought to so many families.

If it takes a few more weeks or even months of staying at home to help rid humanity of this pandemic, then so be it.

Life, we are assured, will return to normal and when it does football will too. That said, there will undoubtedly be a fallout. I expect this will impact clubs and players alike, nevertheless, over time that too will settle down.

It has seemed to me that true normality in football (crowd attendance) will be one of the last events to be “unlocked”.

Quite what the remedy will be in-between, remains uncertain. I suspect the interim solution to crowds returning will be a livestream service… perhaps a small pay per view arrangement. On occasions when, for personal reasons, I have been unable to attend away games I have been able to watch the match on TV. Commentary is the BBC Essex coverage and I think it works well.

I do not know what will ultimately be adopted by the EFL but anticipate the “future” of this season will soon be known and thoughts on next season too.

Whilst we all want football to return ASAP, it is insignificant in the context of what is happening in the world at present. Nevertheless we must all plan for the future and your club keeps in close touch with the EFL on a near daily basis.

Amongst all this sadness it would be easy to forget happy news of our new stadium, announced last month.

I hear you say, “about time!”

I agree it has been a long time in gestation but when this baby gets going it will prove a giant step in the club’s history. This partnership with the Council will secure the club's future, and potential

Many people have asked whether we will need to start again… yet another planning application!

The answer is No.

When the club originally submitted its planning application in April 2017, it comprised of two elements:

  • A detailed application as far as the stadium and academy
  • An outline application for the retail

This is called a hybrid planning application.

The stadium therefore remains unchanged. The first phase is still 14,000 seats and it remains our intention to build the second phase under a programme which will overlap the first phase.

We will simply need to amend the current application by replacing the retail.

From a start on site the first phase will take just 12-15 months enabling us to vacate Roots Hall.

What a night that last match at Roots Hall will be… unless of course I am still the only person on the terraces!

The next question I hear you say is “When?”

The Council and club are very active, day by day progressing all those matters now agreed.

The next step is the Council’s consideration of the club's, shortly to be amended, planning application. We hope and expect this to be considered at a Development Control Committee in the autumn with both the Fossetts and Roots Hall applications considered at the same time.

Once we have an agreed planning programme this will be overlaid with our construction programme to, hopefully, determine a moving date.

There is a huge amount of work being undertaken in parallel at present to ensure, as best as possible, there is no slippage and the Council are absolutely likeminded.

My intention is to keep all our supporters fully advised every step of the way. It has been a long journey but a destination we can all look forward enjoying.

Ron Martin

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