Gills chief: My super stadium dream

GILLINGHAM Football Club's proposed super stadium would be the "Sydney Opera House" of Medway, club chairman Paul Scally has pledged.

During a talk in Chatham Maritime, Mr Scally called on Medway Council to back his scheme which could bring a £70 million 20,000-seater complex to Temple Marsh at Cuxton, near Strood. It would be designed to the highest standards. "It could be a Sydney Opera House of Medway, a real focal point," he said. "It's in a fantastic position with great access."

Consultants Drivers Jonas are about to publish a report backing the choice of the riverside site. Although there are sensitive environmental issues about the council-owned landfill site, and residents' concerns about traffic and noise, experts believe the project is feasible.

Mr Scally said Priestfield was "totally unsuitable" for a football club to flourish. New stands and other ground improvements were just "a short-term fix".

A new stadium was needed "like Cardiff Arms Park" with a sliding roof and moveable pitch. But it would be more than just football. "I don't think you can build a stadium today that is simply a football stadium. You have to build a way of life, a Chelsea village. That way of life can encompass all the different facilities that are required throughout Medway."

Whether the project went ahead was "a matter for the council to decide". Mr Scally added: "If they do decide to take it forward in earnest, it's up to me to try and find the financial package to try and develop and build that stadium."

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