Ebbsfleet United are gearing up for the Northfleet/Plough End renovation in the summer by submitting a detailed planning application for a new stand and integrated 55-bedroom hotel.
Initially the stand will accommodate 1,750 supporters on standing terraces with the ability to convert to seating (to follow the seating line of our new main stand) when appropriate.
The club is working hard to achieve a planning consent from Gravesham Borough Council in May 2017 so work can start this coming June – with a projected completion date of April 2018.
As everyone is aware, the ambition at Stonebridge Road is to build four new stands which generate income for the club and make it self-sufficient. The Fleet’s owners have determined that the football club must generate its own revenue around all four new stands to progress and to avoid any repetition of the circumstances which brought about its near closure in 2013.
On a small site, the design has to be integrated to maximise use of the currently available area and we are now working on our plans for the Swanscombe End which will be communicated to supporters when they reach a finalised stage.
Outline planning permission has been granted for all four sides of the stadium, but each phase requires submission of a detailed planning application, in this case with the amended design for the hotel, before the commencement of any works.
The terracing will run along one tier across the full length of the Plough End and the site will make full use of the land to the limits of the current boundaries owned by the club. Supporter feedback was very clear in favouring a return to terracing at that end of the ground and the club has taken that on board with the new design accommodating some 1,750 standing spaces. As mentioned above, the addition of seating, should it become a requirement at any future level of football, can be carried out when that becomes appropriate.
The hotel, on three levels, is designed with a lobby opening out on to a forecourt on Stonebridge Road roughly where the present turnstiles are situated, with new turnstiles and an access gate moved further inside the present site. Hotel/non-matchday car parking, a pick-up/drop-off point and a cycle store are also to be located in that area.
Supporters can be assured that the provision of suitable bar facilities will not be an issue. We are in discussion with the hotel operator about usage of its bar on matchdays – an arrangement that works at numerous other clubs – plus we are looking at options for opening up facilities in the Main Stand and elsewhere pending further development, including the possibility of a bar for away supporters if and when segregation needs to be implemented.
Graphics © alexandersedgley ltd