1. ITV Report

Revised stadium plans for Southend United unveiled

Southend United Credit: PA

The first phase of Southend United's proposed new stadium would provide 14,000 seats if ambitious plans are backed under a landmark agreement between the club, the borough council and a housing provider.

The project at Fossetts Farm has been the subject of debate for several years.

But work to replace the Shrimpers' current home, Roots Hall, would start if the go-ahead was granted to provide more than 500 homes for rent on the site in Victoria Avenue.

The agreement between Southend Borough Council, Southend United and Citizen Housing LLP, also includes the provision of 800 rental homes which would replace an out-of-town retail development.

Potentially hundreds of more homes could be provided through a separate joint venture between Citizen Housing LLP and a third party.

There would also be other facilities such as a health centre, convenience store and a community hub at Fossetts Farm.

Southend are already fighting a losing battle under manager Sol Campbell to avoid relegation from SkyBet EFL League One, if and when league football resumes in the wake of the coronavirus.

They're currently second from bottom in the table, 16 points short of safety.

But chairman Ron Martin said the agreement would help the club fulfil its long held potential.

“We listened to the Council’s concerns, in particular, the impact of the proposed enabling retail development on the town centre.

The collaborative approach achieved with the Council, together with our other partners, will deliver a project that I believe the people of Southend-on-Sea will be very proud of.

"We are delighted for all our supporters that this agreement will unlock the delivery of Southend United’s new home, enabling the Club to fulfil its long held potential.”

– Ron Martin, Southend United Chairman

“This is really very significant news for all of us. I am very pleased that despite the current difficult circumstances we have been able to move this forward.

“We need to build more homes as a Borough, we want more affordable rented homes, we need to generate more income into the council to fund local services and we are seeing more than ever how essential these services are.

"We have always recognised the importance of the football club to the Borough and we now have the opportunity to enable them to deliver their new stadium and secure the Club’s future. So this is a win-win situation.”

– Councillor Ian Gilbert, Southend Borough Council leader
The Sawston site

Meanwhile, Cambridge City have taken a step forward with plans to build a new ground at Sawston.

The Isthmian League side has been preparing a grant bid to the Football Foundation. In a statement the club said:

"A key element to our grant application is for the club to demonstrate how it will support football in the community and local area. An invitation was sent out inviting local teams to become ‘Partner Clubs”, with a number of teams expressing an interest in using our artificial pitch and looking forward to working together. At City alone we have nearly 20 teams ready and waiting to use our new facilities!

"This has been further bolstered with the clubs recent partnership with Ipswich Town."