Maidstone United and Maidstone Borough Council have reached an agreement over the sale of a strip of land on the river side of the Gallagher Stadium, which paves the way for future development.
The purchase of the strip of land enables the west side of the stadium to be developed, as and when required, with a seated stand for 650 spectators and a pathway for safe access.
At a cost of £800,000 the west stand project, together with the subsequent south stand redevelopment, would cement the club’s long-term future in the town.
MBC Leader Martin Cox said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement and that Maidstone United can continue to thrive in the town. Not only will this benefit the club’s loyal supporters but the local community too.
“By working together constructively we have managed to secure an even better legacy. I am delighted that MBC is now helping the club progress over the next few years and beyond.”
The football club, since its return to the County Town in 2012, has continued to go from strength to strength; attracting more than 3,000 supporters on high profile match days – contributing to Maidstone’s popularity and to the local economy.
Speaking of the development plans Oliver Ash commented: “This is only a small strip of land but acquiring it is a giant step for the club. It brings us and the town closer together and has improved the understanding the council has of all the community benefits produced by the club.
“The land is essential to open-up the west side for future development. Its purchase will enable an exciting stadium development programme based on a master plan for a stadium with the capacity of 6,000 with 2,000 seats to become a reality from a land point of view.
“The intention is to launch the development when finance allows and depending on our league requirements.”
In addition, the borough council will support Maidstone United with its work in the community, through the Stones Community Trust. The council and trust are now working together to bring to life various programmes and events.
Community Trust projects include help for homeless people, schemes aimed at inspiring school children, coaching and football tournaments for youngsters, ‘Fit 4 Life’ (coaching for disadvantaged children), and support for an award-winning disability football section with 120 players.