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Million pound ground development revealed

By This is Essex  |  Posted: January 28, 2009

ARTISTS' IMPRESSION: Possible new terracing.

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A £1 MILLION project to improve Chelmsford City's Melbourne Stadium has been revealed to supporters.

The club's vice-chairman Paul Hopkins told fans about the exciting plans at a well attended supporters' meeting, held at the ground last Thursday.

The project would see the ground's grading improve from it's current class B status to a class A status, required under Blue Square Premier regulations, by March next year.

Of course there would only be a need to meet the deadline if City get promoted from the Blue Square South, which is a distinct possibility, with the Clarets second and set to travel to AFC Wimbledon this Saturday for a top of the table clash.

Under the plans the ground's capacity could rise initially to 4,000 from it's current 3,100, but the club would have to prove that the stadium could take 5,000 again under Blue Square Premier rules.

The plans include new terracing, which will have the ability to be moved by forklift trucks, for home fans behind the goal, hopefully with a back and roof with the old terracing being used by away support.

A new stand will be created on the athletics club side of the ground, which will hold 1,300, while the number of turnstiles will need to be increased from six to eight. A retractable tunnel for players would also be needed.

Hopkins told fans the project would cost around £1m and that the club would be seeking planning permission for the development around the end of March.

He added: "Once we've got planning, we can go seek funding."

An image of the new terracing for home fans was passed around supporters but drawings for the new stand are top secret at the moment.

However, because the terracing will be solely used by City and not by the athletics club, it is unlikely Chelmsford Borough Council will stump up the funding and the club will have to raise the cash through other means.

Hopkins told supporters: "We've got so much room up here 5,000 is achievable it's just about who pays for it. The new terracing is something the council will definitely not pay for.

"It's in your hands. We can have a small terrace like we've got now or a large terrace like the one that you've been shown. Just £1 a week on the club's lottery is the easiest way to support it.

"The council have been fantastic with their support of us and if they hadn't come in when they did the club would be skint by now. It just wouldn't have happened if we had stayed at Billericay Town."

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