Future of Chard FC "depends" on approval of controversial 450 home development at Mount Hindrance
The future of football in Chard depends on the approval of plans to build a 450 home development at Mount Hindrance says the consultant for the town football club.
Homebuilder McTaggart and Mickel wants to build on land to the north of town next to the business park. It wants to create a mixed-use development of homes and employment space.
Sports Solutions, representing Chard Town FC is encouraging people to register their support for the application ahead of a decision being made by South Somerset District Council.
However the application has already come under fire from local residents who feel the main interest of the application is to make money and not about the community.
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Several protest groups have sprung up and signatures on petitions opposing the proposed development number in the hundreds.
A spokesman from Sports Solutions said; "The new facilities would secure the future of football in Chard; the Club is currently at risk of expulsion from the Western League as a result of its poor facilities, which fall well short of the Football Association's requirement.
"The club's severely sloping pitch has led to a poor ground grading, which will be discussed by the technical panel of the FA in early April, which is likely to instruct the Western League to give the club notice to move to an acceptable facility within a season.
"If the Club is to avoid losing their place in the league, it has to create a facility that is suitable for the next generation.
"If plans to relocate the Club aren't successful, Chard Town FC will lose its membership of the league at the end of the 2013-14 season, despite its recent success on the pitch.
" This would mark the end of Western League football in the town, with players having to travel outside of the town if they wish to continue enjoying football at this level.
"With the opportunity that the proposed mixed use development brings, the club is moving closer to making this dream a reality, however it is acutely aware that this is only going to be possible with the continued support of club members, supporters and the local community.
"It is vital that all those looking forward to enjoying enhanced sport and leisure facilities in Chard show their support by lobbying local councillors, signing the book of support at the clubhouse."
One objector to the application his described it as a "disaster" for the people of Chard.
Gary Taylor of nearby Crib Close, who started up one of the petitions fears Chard is not equipped to cope with the additional people large developments will bring to the town.
Another group known as the Mount Hindrance Action Group has also started up. Members fear the proposed development is not in line with the way South Somerset District Council agreed Chard should be developed as part of the local plan.
The proposed development would comprising 450 homes, a floodlit football pitch, training and mini pitches, a club house, spectator facilities and parking as well as road infrastructure.