There have been off the pitch celebrations for Dulwich Hamlet, after the local football club secured plans for a new stadium. Southwark Council have green-lit the stadium, and this will provide a solid platform for the team and local community.
In a statement issued shortly after the meeting, Dulwich Hamlet FC said: “The club are delighted to announce that the Southwark Council planning committee has approved our joint planning application with Meadow Residential. The result secures the clubs home and future in East Dulwich for the next 125 years.”
The application process hasn’t been simple
It has been a lengthy battle for the club, and it is fair to say that not everyone has been supportive of the application. There was controversy in the week before the vote when leaflets were circulated saying the club planned to charge local schools to use the AstroTurf pitch.
The leaflet said local schools would be charged £45,000 each year, which means a sum close to half a million would be accumulated in a ten-year period.
Understandably, many people reacted strongly to this news, but the club was quick to speak out against the leaflet.
The club chairman, Ben Clasper, said; “Online and on paper a claim was made stating we will ‘charge schools’. It wasn’t true and needed to be refuted. This could have been avoided if the club had simply been asked. School use is free and we have reconfirmed this with the Charter Trust this week.”
In response to the committee’s decision, Cllrs John and King spoke to Southwark News, saying: “We are disappointed that planning committee has approved this application. Although we are long term supporters of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, we are concerned about the loss of metropolitan open land at Green Dale and the impact this will have on our community. During lockdown it became clearer than ever before how important open spaces are, especially in a ward like ours with no major parks, so we are disappointed that this application means less green space for everyone to enjoy.”
The councillors continued by issuing a rallying cry to fans and the local population, saying; “We now call on Meadow to keep their promises to the community and ensure a stable future for DHFC at Champion Hill, and wish the club every success when the National League South returns.”
The club enjoyed a strong victory at the planning meeting
It wasn’t a simple case for the planning committee to consider, and it is believed the meeting lasted for five hours. There was a majority backing the application, with a score of 5-2 in favour of the application. This outcome means a 4,000-capacity stadium and 219 homes will be developed on the site.
Club director Tom Cullen was delighted on hearing the news, as he said on Twitter; “I honestly couldn’t be prouder of everyone that fought for this club. We won.”
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