Blaze devastates new site of football club

First published in Echo News by

A FOOTBALL club has insisted that a devastating blaze will not cause any additional delays to its plans to move to a new £1.5million home.

The blaze, at what will eventually become the new home of Wickford Town FC, broke out in a steel container on land at Shot Farm, Southend Road, Wickford on Saturday.

It is believed yobs broke into a metal container - acting as a site office for builders working on the land - before torching it. Several drums of oil exploded in the blaze, which broke out at around 10.40pm on Saturday and the windows of a mini digger were also smashed.

Builders on the site are working to create 14 football pitches, changing rooms, floodlights, a police hut, parking and a new road on the proposed site.

Tony Silk, chairman of Wickford Town FC said the club did not know how the blaze started.

He said the fire, despite causing extensive damage, would not delay the club’s plans to move on to the land as they are still in legal negotiations with property developer Martin Grant Homes over the land.

The Echo told in December 2007 how Wickford Town FC - which has around 1,200 youth players - was given planning permission to turn its ground in Southend Road into 50 new homes.

The development allowed the club to fund what will be its new 35 acre base at Shot Farm, near the A129, Southend Road - where Saturday’s fire took place. The site has still not been completed due to ongoing negotiations.

At the time the decision attracted outrage from local residents who used the club’s old ground to walk dogs.

Police confirmed an investigation into the cause of the blaze is still ongoing.


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