London’s oldest football club, Ryman League Division One North outfit Cray Wanderers, has signed a conditional contract….
….(subject to planning permission) to purchase Flamingo Park Sports Centre on the A20 Sidcup Bypass.
The contract, completed last Friday, gives the club an eighteen-month period to obtain planning permission from London Borough of Bromley for a new sporting community hub, centred on a 2,200 capacity multi-sport stadium.
Club chairman Gary Hillman said: “I am very excited about Flamingo Park. The Club had to fight off several big national house builders who were very keen to build hundreds of houses on this green-belt land. Football hasn’t been played here for over four years so it will be good to bring this sporting facility back to life.
“Our new stadium will have a 3G pitch, so we won’t need as much enabling development as last time. The club looks forward to working with London Borough of Bromley to bring the community this new sporting facility.”
The club plans to set up a women’s football team and a team for people with disabilities. The community will also benefit from the stadium’s proposed state-of-the art health and fitness facilities.
David Francis, club vice-chairman and ex Cray Wanderers player, commented: “Since returning to the club over a year ago I’ve been working to improve and expand the successful Cray Community Scheme and to find them and the club a permanent home. Flamingo Park ticks all the boxes.”
Hillman added: “If all goes well we plan to kick-off the 2017/18 season here.”
The Wands, who currently groundshare with Vanarama Conference South club Bromley, have had two previous attempts to build a new stadium – at Sandy Lane, St Paul’s Cray and Manorfields in Orpington – rejected by London Borough of Bromley.
Hillman said “We had massive support for our last planning application. I was very surprised when local ward Councillors voted against it. However, UKIP publicly supported the club’s plans for a new stadium.”
And in May’s local elections, voters showed their support for the club when they elected two UKIP candidates in the Cray Valley West Ward.
They replaced two of the sitting Conservative Councillors who had also sat on Borough’s Planning Committee and voted against Cray Wanderers Sandy Lane planning application, in September 2012.
These were the only UKIP Councillors elected in the borough, although a third UKIP candidate missed out by a whisker in the Cray Valley East Ward.