EAST Thurrock United Football Club look set to controversially move home.

Residents living around the club’s proposed new ground - Billet Field in Stanford-le-Hope - are unhappy and preparing to battle against the plan.

However, the Gazette can reveal that next week, Thurrock Council will agree to sell the playing field to East Thurrock for £340,000 - as long as it gets planning permission to build a community football ground on the site, and approval to build homes on the club’s current Rookery Hill ground, in Corringham.

Anita Hayward of Billet Lane, who lives opposite the field, said: “You wouldn’t want a new football ground opposite your house. It will bring extra traffic, noise and they will be playing at night. My feelings are very strong about this. Residents won’t benefit from football pitches.”

Another Billet Lane, who did not wish to be named, believes the land maybe protected by a covenant.

She said: “I heard the land was gifted to the people of Stanford in the same way the neighbouring Mobil Field was years ago. The Billet Field is a nice, quiet leisure area. It should stay that way.”

The Gazette revealed in November how the club was considering making an offer for the land, off Billet Lane.

It had hoped to buy the Pegasus Club, in Corringham from Coryton oil refinery administrators Pricewaterhouse Cooper.

It has lodged a “very substantial” bid for the club in Herd Lane - and is still waiting to hear the outcome of that.

However, the focus is now firmly on the Billet Field.

A spokesman for East Thurrock Football Club said: “Our interest and a very substantial offer for the Pegasus Club remains lodged with the agent but we cannot let time stand still.

“Having identified the Billet site as one that also meets our needs and affords an opportunity to massively improve community sporting activities we have engaged with council officers and councillors.

“We are now focussing on that and should the council approve the proposed sale, we look forward to the next stage of the project which will involve establishing detailed plans in consultation with the local residents.”

Terry Piccolo, chairman of the Stanford and Corringham community forum, added: “I’m wary of this until I see some more detailed proposals.”