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Gloucestershire Business News

Football's coming home: Stadium plans are approved and club can end 12-year exile

After nearly 12 years in exile, Gloucester City Football Club have taken their most significant step yet in their bid to return home.

Victims of the epic July 2007 floods that saw their Meadow Park rendered unusable and uninsurable, the Tigers have been nomads ever since.

Spells playing in Nailsworth, Cirencester, Cheltenham and now Evesham have coincided with the club earning promotion out of the Southern League for the first time in their history.

But now they have been given the green light to return to a new ground at Sudmeadow Road after being informed that their plans had been approved by Gloucester City Council.

The club will now turn their attention to obtaining funding for building the new stadium, on ground that has been raised from the 2007 levels in order to prevent future flooding.

The club have submitted a proposal to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund which meets next week to make a decision on the proposal.

The football authorities have also approved an application for the club to remain at Evesham United until such time as the new stadium at Meadow Park is built.

Club director Alex Petherham said: "I'd personally like to thank Simon Wood (SLP Consulting), Chris Hill (Soldi), David Billingham (Roberts Limbrick Architects), Trevor King, Brian McGurk and Rob Ellis for their hard work and effort in getting this application completed and working through the night making sure we were ready to submit, following planning permission being granted.

"The targeted FSIF meeting is on May 10, we now very much hope we've done enough to get our application reviewed at this forthcoming meeting and want to thank everyone within the FSIF for giving us the chance to be reviewed with such a short lead in.

"Providing the application is heard, we'll know more by the end of May 2019, if the application isn't heard, then sadly we'll fall in to the next meeting which is scheduled for August 2019.

I can also confirm that the National League have today approved our application to start the season at Evesham, with permission granted to relocate back home to Gloucester as and when we're ready.

"I know the first question will now be... "So come one, when you will start! When will we be home?"

"As further meetings progress this will become clearer, however one thing I can say is this, we've never been closer."

After being flooded out of their home in 2007, Gloucester City Council established a Football Task and Finish Group in order to ascertain whether it was feasible to return to Meadow Park.

The group evaluated other sites in the city, including land at the back of the Unilever Factory and off Grange Road in Tuffley, before deciding that a new scheme at Meadow Park was viable.

An initial application for a new stadium and industrial land was submitted in 2011 but refused by the council in 2013.

A 'scaled down' proposal was then put forward in 2014 and approved but never came to light, leading to the latest and now approved plan being put forward in January of this year.

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