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Stadium gets set to expand

MAIDSTONE United have brought in archi- tectural and financial experts to offer advice on expanding the Gallagher Stadium. In what chief executive Bill Williams

called a “wonderful problem”, the ground, which opened last summer, is seeing far larger crowds than expected and the club wants tomake sure they are ready to expand if necessary. Ideas put forward by owners Terry Casey

and Oliver Ash and other prominent people at the club include increasing capacity, building a second bar and adding more classrooms for academy students. The pro- fessional advice, expected to be presented to theclubthismonth,willlookahead to a time when the stadium may need to hold 4,000 or 5,000 people and offer recommen- dations on how to reach that goal. MrWilliams told the Downs Mail: “We are getting ourselves into a position where, ifwe do start to get near our capacity, we have everything in place to be able to move quite quickly.We are going to grow over the years, but to what capacity is unknown. “There are a lot of ideas in themelting pot at the moment. It is a wonderful problem

Signs good for ground MAIDSTONE United has applied to KCC for permission to put up signs directing fans to its new stadium. The application, if successful, will not

only benefit football lovers but also delight other residents, many of whom have had to give directions to confused fans since the stadium opened last summer. A spokesman for the club said they were awaiting a re- sponse from the council.

A goal for the

Stones’ Alex

Brown at the

Gallagher Stadium

we’re getting and these are interesting days.” The season average has been 1,653 specta-

tors per gamewith the highest attendance so far being the Stones versus Sittingbourne FC on New Year’s Day, 2,291. On this occasion the club decided it was safe to go above the stadium’s official capacity of 2,226. The Stones only budgeted for about 800 people per game when it opened in James Whatman Way in 2012. Mr Williams said that in theory, as long as money and land were available, there was nothing to stop Maidstone United from one day being able to welcome 25,000 fans into their stadium.

Charity car parking MAIDSTONE Lions Club has been given per- mission to use the car park at the office com- plex in Stacey Street, Maidstone to provide car parking at the stadium on match days. The car park can be reached off the round-

about opposite the road leading to the ground. Members of the Lions Club will be at the car park from noon to 5.15pm every Saturday match day until the end of the season. Park- ing fees will go to the Lions’ charitable work.

Oast conversion bid JOHN Boyd Farms has applied to convert an oast house and attached barns into two residential units at New Shelve Farm, Ashford Road, Lenham. His supporting statement said alterna-

tive uses had been assessed, and thiswas the only viable re-use of the building. “The subject building range has been

used for a variety of agricultural pur- poses during its history. However, these are redundant as far as modern farming practice is concerned, and serve no use- ful purpose for the business.” The application, which will be deter- mined byMaidstone Council, states that the new use would not impact on the Grade II Listed farmhouse, which dates back to around 1711

Holiday lets refused A PROPOSAL for two three-bedroom holiday let chalets at the Who’d a Thought It pub in Headcorn Road, Grafty Green, has been turned down. Maidstone Council’s decision notice

said the height and footprint of the planned development would have been detrimental to the character and appear- ance of the open countryside. It added: “The principle of provision of additional tourist accommodation on the site is considered to be potentially accept- able. However, the scale of any proposed development should be significantly re- duced.”

Caravan site consent PLANNING permission was granted for the erection of a shop and offices build- ing at the Pilgrims’ Retreat caravan site in Hogbarn Lane, Harrietsham,

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