Published: 12:00, 01 June 2020
| Updated: 13:47, 01 June 2020
Margate Football Club have unveiled ambitious plans to transform their Hartsdown Park ground.
The stadium redevelopment would include a 120-bed hotel, integrated into an all-seated East Stand, while there are also plans for a 1,300 capacity north stand terrace to be built with new changing facilities attached.
Club chairman Terry Painter admits times are tough for football clubs during the Covid-19 crisis but hopes these plans will lift the spirits.
He said: “The past few months have been extremely troubling and sad for many of us but hopefully this news will give everybody a bit of a boost.
“This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of our plans to secure a long term, sustainable and exciting future for Margate Football Club.
“Lots of hard-work has taken place to get us to this stage and I’m sure supporters and members of the local community will see these plans and be equally as excited as us.
“We hope our supporters can play their part in this by sending a letter of support or an email to the planning department at Thanet District Council indicating both their support and the need for this facility to allow Hartsdown Park to develop and grow.
“We will ensure we keep our supporters, partners and the local community fully up to date as we head to planning committee.”
The club say their application has been developed following pre-application meetings with Thanet District Council and Kent County Council and had a “positive response.”
The club says the addition of a Holiday Inn Express hotel reflects “the increased demand for hotel rooms in Thanet and to provide not only a first-class facility for all our teams but also a sporting hub for the community.”
The East Block, which includes the hotel, will house a restaurant and bar facilities. The building will also have space for football club offices and a club shop, together with the stadium control room. The stand will be all-seater and have a capacity of 650.
The North Stand terrace will include room within the building for various sports and associated activities to take place. On the first floor, there will be a café/bar facility which overlooks the pitch.
The club will also hope to expand their car park to provide 104 parking spaces.
First team manager Jay Saunders is excited by the plans.
He said: “I’m sure in these difficult times, it would give everyone at the club and our loyal supporters a massive lift and something to look forward to.
“When I first spoke to the club about coming in as manager I was shown these plans and really impressed with the vision.
“Having played for – and now managed – the club, I know how long this has been going on and I hope we can get across the line and the permission everyone at the club is hoping for.”
The club had hopes to present fans and the community with the plans prior to the application being submitted but the Covid-19 crisis meant that wasn’t possible.