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MPs discuss return to Meadow Park

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: May 27, 2009

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Ambitious plans to bring Gloucester City back to Meadow Park were the hot topic as a Government minister visited the city.

Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, joined officials from the Environment Agency and planning officers to tour the former home of Gloucester City Football Club.

The Tigers were forced to leave the ground in Sudmeadow Road in July 2007 after flood waters rose to the top of the cross bar.

The Citizen has launched a campaign with the fans to try get a proper home ground for the team.

Yesterday, Mr Benn and Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda listened to the club owners as they discussed how raising the ground could be the answer.

A return to Meadow Park is one of the options for Gloucester City, who have vowed to be back playing in Gloucester by the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

The other possibility is Blackbridge, off Podsmead Road, on county council land.

After hailing the team's success, Mr Benn said answers were now needed off the pitch.

He said: "The club has had a very difficult time and it hasn't stopped them getting promoted which is a great achievement."

Planning consultants explained to Mr Benn how development around Meadow Park, the Tigers' home since 1986, had left the site vulnerable to flooding.

After an initial flood in December 2000 the land was deemed uninsurable and the third flood in 10 years hit in July 2007.

Mr Benn said he would look at plans to raise the ground carefully. He said: "The water has to go somewhere. If you build up around this area what will be the consequences elsewhere. Clearly the site is in a terrible state and that is the effect of flooding."

"Gloucester City clearly want to rise again from the difficulties they have experienced and they have already done it off the pitch.

"The question is can we find a long term solution."

The visit was organised by Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda.

He said: "We are on a journey to get this club back home in Gloucester and playing at the highest level.

"My job is to get people like Hilary Benn here to make sure the journey is as short as possible."

Yesterday, The Citizen also sent a petition of 330 names to the Football Association calling for the team to be allowed to play in Blue Square Conference South next season so their fans would have less distance to travel to games.

Currently, they are due to play in Conference North. A decision is expected in the next week.

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    Common Sense, Glos  |  May 28 2009, 10:20PM

    Just build the Damn stadium by metzway, where the old rail depot is. The place is an Eyesore!

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    Tasty Fish, Abbeymead, Gloucestershire  |  May 27 2009, 10:55PM

    sorry, having a brain cell malfunction, I meant on a daily and nightly basis

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    Tasty Fish, Abbeymead, Gloucestershire  |  May 27 2009, 10:53PM

    Meadow Park is not the solution. I think the MP is missing the point. Gloucester City FC needs to be a viable business and many non-league clubs rely on non-footballing business in residential areas to supplement their fortnightly, 10 months of the year match-day income. Facilities need to be used by the local community on a daily and nightly business. Meadow Park does not offer that.

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    Andrew Meads, Gloucester  |  May 27 2009, 5:32PM

    Raising the ground level is an excellent idea -not! It would simply cause more flooding for the nearby already oppressed homeowners. Oh, and also give Keyway another site on which to dispose of yet more rubble.

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    David, gl1  |  May 27 2009, 2:32PM

    Gloucester City FC should keep the ground and turn into a water polo team. They would probably be more successful.

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    Anon, Cheltenham  |  May 27 2009, 11:59AM

    How did anyone manage to get a minister and a whole MP to actually visit? Did they have a special claim form?

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    Paul, City  |  May 27 2009, 9:16AM

    Fair play Lenny, The municipla capital of the county fans are turning this way now they realise things are happening here. Gloucestershire La La La.

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    Lenny, Chelt  |  May 27 2009, 9:08AM

    It is sad really. They need to get back to their prignal ground. I remeber great games against City in the past at Meadow Park. With the quays I would imagine a few more people trotting along their. In all honesty it wouldn't suprise me if Gloucester City beat the Robins or were in the same league in a couple of years as they seem to have a better team bond, low resources and more to offer.

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    Racoon, Gloucester  |  May 27 2009, 9:03AM

    Less posturing, more action. Let's have our Football club back!

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    Woody, Abbeymead  |  May 27 2009, 8:57AM

    If they can sort the flooding issue then I would be more than happy with a return to meadow park. It seems to be the quickest solution to our ground problems and is in a great spot with all the development that has gone on like the Quay's and the college.