Romford FC 'waiting for right investor' for Westlands Playing Fields stadium plans

Cambridge City FC vs Romford FC (Pic: George Tewkesbury)

Cambridge City FC vs Romford FC (Pic: George Tewkesbury) - Credit: Archant

The chairman of Romford FC has said the club still hopes to build a new stadium in Westlands playing fields, but is waiting for an investor that shares their community-oriented vision. 

The club, which has been without a permanent home for three decades, had been granted planning permission for a stadium on the site but this elapsed last November before an investor had been found. 

Last week, Havering’s strategic planning committee gave the green light for a special educational needs and disability school to be built at St Edward’s Academy, adjacent to Westlands. 

While the new school will encroach slightly onto the playing fields, Romford FC chairman Steve Gardener said it would not impact the club’s plans significantly. 

He said the club want to make sure they have investment secured before they seek planning permission again. 

“Our project is quite an ambitious one and it requires a large investment either from an individual or a company and I just think that football generally has not always demonstrated that there is money to be made,” Steve explained to the Recorder

He said the club needs roughly £2million for the project and they were currently talking to some “interested parties". 

“Although we want to find investment, we also ideally want someone to have the same vision as we have got for it to be a community facility,” he said. 

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“If I said I reckon I could get ten houses built around the outside, I would have people throwing money at me, but that’s not what it is for.” 

Havering's planning committee unanimously approved plans for the stadium in October 2018. 

The proposals submitted at that stage included a 3G pitch, floodlights, a clubhouse, food kiosk,  and 22 parking spaces at the site in London Road.  

However, work on the development had to begin within three years of the decision. 

When this elapsed, Haverng Council leader Damian White stressed the local authority was “committed to supporting Romford FC and to seeing them playing in the borough again”. 

"We look forward to them submitting a new planning application,” he added. 

Romford FC, which is in the Isthmian League North in the eighth tier of English football, have played their home fixtures outside the borough for roughly 10 years, and are currently based at Mayesbrook Park in Dagenham.