BEES REL­ISH­ING THEIR NEW HQ ...but Coven­try hopes fad­ing fast

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By John Lyons

BRENT­FORD have taken a ma­jor step for­ward in their new ground project – work is un­der­way at Lionel Road South.

Tem­po­rary hoard­ings have been put up and ini­tial site prepa­ra­tion work has been car­ried out, in­clud­ing the start of es­sen­tial de­mo­li­tion work to clear the Brent­ford Com­mu­nity Sta­dium com­plex site.

The Bees plan to build a 20,000 ca­pac­ity state-of-theart sta­dium by 2019 and be­lieve it will help them se­cure the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the club.

The new sta­dium is sit­u­ated next to Kew Bridge sta­tion, less than a mile away from the club’s cur­rent Grif­fin Park home.

It will also be home to a pro­fes­sional rugby union team (Lon­don Irish) and is at the heart of plans to re­gen­er­ate the area, in­clud­ing much-needed new homes and com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Brent­ford chair­man Cliff Crown said: “It’s been a long time com­ing, but I am de­lighted that we have now started work at Lionel Road South.

“Once the site has been fully cleared, we can get on with the se­ri­ous work of build­ing a new and ex­cit­ing home for Brent­ford FC.

“I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to thank the Lon­don Bor­ough of Houn­slow and all our de­vel­op­ment part­ners who have helped to get us to this point.”

But Coven­try City’s hopes of build­ing a new sta­dium appear to be over – and chair­man Tim Fisher ad­mits a move to Butts Park Arena is most likely.

City are cur­rently con­tracted as ten­ants at the Ri­coh Arena un­til 2018 but have now agreed in prin­ci­ple to share the home of Coven­try Rugby.

The Sky Blues’ own­ers, Sisu, are cur­rently at war with the club’s fans and have can­celled plans for a new ground.

De­velop

Butts Park Arena – which is also home to Non-League side Coven­try United and semi-pro­fes­sional rugby league team Coven­try Bears – is lo­cated in Coven­try it­self, and Fisher is happy with the pro­posed plan.

“We weren’t able to close a land deal on our own sta­dium, full stop,” Fisher told a Sky Blue Trust sup­port­ers’ meet­ing.

“But we have spent a lot of time work­ing with the Foot­ball League and Coven­try Rugby Club to de­velop a sta­dium which would be more than am­ple in terms of ca­pac­ity.

“It’s the pre­ferred op­tion be­cause it keeps us in the city. We are com­mit­ted to stay­ing in Coven­try.

“(Coven­try RFC chair­man) Jon Sharp has made a state­ment which shows his com­mit­ment.

“As long as there is a break-out of peace, I be­lieve Butts Park Arena is an op­tion for a Coven­try RFC and Coven­try City ground­share.”

Mean­while, Gilling­ham are seek­ing sup­port in their bid for a new sta­dium to se­cure the club’s long-term fu­ture.

The Gills be­lieve the only suit­able site is on land known lo­cally as Mill Hill.

This area is iden­ti­fied in the draft pro­pos­als of Med­way Coun­cil’s Lo­cal Plan, the fi­nal ver­sion of which sets out plan­ning, build­ing and de­vel­op­ment poli­cies across the area from now un­til 2035.

As a re­sult, the Gills are ask­ing sup­port­ers, lo­cal busi­nesses and res­i­dents, plus foot­ball fans in gen­eral, to write to Med­way Coun­cil in sup­port of their plans be­fore April 18.

“Not only would this en­sure that Gilling­ham Foot­ball Club have a longterm fu­ture at the heart of the com­mu­nity in Med­way,” ex­plained Gills chair­man Paul Scally, “such a move would help raise the pro­file of Med­way, gain na­tional and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion of the area and as­sist in plac­ing this part of South-East Eng­land firmly on the map for the good and great of ev­ery­one.”

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