Plans to build a 100-seater stand at Buckhurst Hill Football Club have been unanimously approved by Epping Forest District Council.

The Essex Olympian league side have succeeded in a bid to erect a new 100-seat stand, 100 person covered standing area and six 15-metre floodlighting columns at their current ground in Roding Lane.

The cub, formed in 1985, is home to 35 teams and over 400 players, with teams for children aged as young as four up to men’s football and girl’s teams for 10 - 14 year olds.

Club chairman Simon Cornwell said: “Our aspirations are to grow those numbers and to continue to be the hub of the local community, with our core focus around wellbeing and giving young people a focus to stay in sport and not to be on the streets or sitting in front of their iPhones or Playstations, which is not great for their mental health.

“This application enables us to deal with the major issues the club has faced over the last few years, by losing players we have nurtured from a young age then leaving the club at 14 or 15 to either play at other clubs or more worryingly stop playing all together.”

The chairman revealed the development would help the club expand its offering for young women, with more girl’s teams and outlined plans to introduce walking football for the elderly.

“As a club we have young people from a whole variety of backgrounds”, Mr Cornwell added. “The football club is there escape and if they were not playing football, they would be on the streets and following a completely different path in life, and one which I am sure none of use would want them to follow.”

Buckhurst Hill East councillor Simon Ward – who voted in favour of the plans – warned the council must be wary of how the club might continue to grow.

Referring to the Ryman Premier League (renamed the Isthmian Premier League in 2018), cllr Heap suggested the club may at some point build a larger ground.

He said: “We need to know where the intend to be. I’m not saying ambition is a bad thing, and I’m not saying that we should object to what they want to do but we need to not do it incrementally but as a big plan.

“If their stated aim is to get into the Ryman Premier League then that means a stand of 10,000 people which has a huge impact.”

The three largest grounds in the Isthmian Premier League have a capacity of 5,000 and a majority of the stadiums hold less than 3,000.

Cllr Stephen Murray said its was a “pleasure to support this wonderful club” and was pleased the application had taken care to not negatively impact the surround area.

He added:” The lighting impact has been kept to a minimum and the green belt has not been impacted… I look forward to seeing the club continue to expand and flourish.”

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