Thursday, August 18, 2011

For and against: Both sides give their views on FC United stadium plan

 Source: MEN

 FC United’s planned move to Moston has created ‘unprecedented’ public interest with supporters of both sides flooding the town hall with emotive letters and petitions.

The breakaway club hope to build a 5,000 capacity stadium on the site of the Ronald Johnson playing fields close to St Mary’s Road.

A planning decision is due at a Manchester council meeting next month and a town hall insider has told the N.E.M. they have been ‘staggered’ with the amount of contact they have had from both supporters and opponents of the scheme.

Council chiefs declined to reveal how much correspondence they had received in favour and against the proposals, which would see FC finally secure a permanent home in the city.

But a source said: "We’ve been staggered by it. There are literally boxes of letters that we have to sift through before the planning committee meeting. It’s a struggle to think of anything that has created as much interest."

Manchester’s Green Party have entered the debate - claiming residents opposed to the stadium refused to attend a meeting they had brokered with the club. Chris Gibbins, from the party, expressed his disappointment and said: "We believe that FC United are genuinely willing to enter into dialogue about the environmental impact of the development."

He added that he was speaking to the club in a bid to minimise the plan’s impact on the surrounding envrironment.

The site, currently fenced off and used by amateur club Moston Juniors, was identified after Manchester council withdrew support for an original proposal to build on brown field land at Ten Acres Lance in Newton Heath.

Bosses at the club say the stadium will provide a community facility. A group formed in protest at the plans, Residents United Residents Association, claim that the stadium would cause traffic chaos and increase levels of anti-social behaviour.

Many homes in the area are displaying posters both in favour of and against the plans.

The decision will be made at a meeting of the Planning & Highways Committee on September 15. It is then understood the Chairty Commission will make their own decision on whether the site can be used to build a stadium at a later date.

Below, we give both sides the chance to have their say on the plans ...


FC United of Manchester is a non-league football club formed in 2005 and is wholly owned by its supporters. It is a democratic organisation and anyone can become a co-owner of the club, having a say in how it is run, electing the board and deciding club policy such as ticket prices.

The club is currently working in partnership with Manchester council and Moston Juniors FC over a proposal to develop a community stadium and facilities at Ronald Johnson Playing Fields.

If the proposal is given the go ahead, it would bring to the area £3.5m of investment including a 5,000 capacity ground, a community club house, a new artificial pitch and the retention of two junior grass pitches, integration of FC United’s community programme with Moston Juniors FC’s development plans, coaching, holiday activities and drop-in football sessions.

In addition, the club is looking at further benefits for those near the site, such as providing free community broadband and a district heating plant offering cheaper energy. The plans also include opening up and landscaping the site to include public spaces and management, in conjunction with residents’ groups, of traffic, parking, noise and litter.

Uniquely, FC United has legal obligations written into its constitution to be of benefit to nearby communities.

The club has always worked to honour this obligation. It has already been delivering its community work in Moston - with activity for young people, improving health and fitness, apprenticeship schemes and community events. If it comes to Moston, the club would continue and increase this work. If you would like to know more about the club’s community work or how you or your group could get involved, please email


Residents United Residents Association would like to thank the people of Moston for their overwhelming and continually growing support in their quest to stop a 5,696 capacity football stadium being built on Ronald Johnson playing fields.

This land holds restrictive covenants and to just give it free of charge to FC United and include more than £750,000 in funding is disrespectful - the council were left to protect this land and not exploit it.

When the council are cutting vital services, jobs, Sure Start centres & libraries this seems an extravagant and shameless way to spend taxpayer’s money.

There has been thousands of pounds spent improving the area gaining it a Green Flag award and encouraging wildlife, something that has been very successful as the park and fields are now home to water voles and bats, both protected species, plus many varieties of insects.

This area includes sheltered accommodation for the elderly who will be directly affected by a floodlit Astroturf 5.2 metres from their homes.

And what happened to a person’s right to enjoy a quiet and peaceful existence in their community?

Being a residential area the infrastructure couldn’t cope with a 5,696 capacity football stadium with all the associated problems that will come with it.

The planning application is full of flaws and contradictions and has admitted insufficient parking with the need to use our local roads.

This will be a major problem not only for the immediate area but for many streets and roads within a wide radius of the stadium.

Should you still wish to object then please do so, after all our green space depends on it.