Minister Mark Francois welcomes plans for new Gillingham FC stadium
Government Minister Mark Francois has today welcomed exciting plans for a new Gillingham Football Club stadium, which could bring hundreds of new homes, jobs and businesses to the Medway area.
In a meeting with Medway Council and Gills Chairman Paul Scally at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on Friday morning, Thames Gateway Minister Mr Francois saw initial proposals for a new stadium and local regeneration plans.
The Chairman greets the Minister
The Minister saw first-hand how the club benefits the local and wider community, saying: “As Kent’s only Football League club, Gillingham is a leading light for sport across the county and is now looking to score hundreds of new homes, jobs and businesses too.
“But it’s early days and I’d urge the Club to work with the Council to make sure any final plans are a good fit for the local area.”
Commenting on the visit, Gills chairman Paul Scally added: “I’d like to welcome the Thames Gateway Minister to Priestfield to see our exciting plans for the future.
The state of the art gym was a stop-off point on the tour
“Gillingham Football Club has been examining potential new sites in Medway for over eight years, and has now identified the most appropriate site for a stadium and enabling development based on infrastructure and suitability of site.
“That’s why we’ll be working closely with the Council and local people to make sure we get our final plans right.”
The Thames Gateway stretches 40 miles along the Thames estuary from Canary Wharf in London to Southend in Essex and Thanet in Kent. With a population of more than of over 3 million, its unique location and potential means it is a long-term national priority for growth.
Gills fan and local MP Rehman Chishti and the Minister showed off their skills
Gillingham has already benefited from significant regeneration as part of the Thames Gateway. On his visit to the area the Minister met with local MP and Gills fan Rehman Chisthi, Cllr Rodney Chambers, Medway Council's Portfolio Holder for Inward Investment, and also saw the improvement work undertaken to the impressive Strand Leisure Park and the urban regeneration at Victory Pier.
Cllr Chambers said: “We have so many exciting regeneration projects taking place here in Medway which are already transforming the area and will continue to do so over the coming years.
“We were pleased to welcome Minister Mark Francois to Medway and have the opportunity to show him a selection of our ongoing regeneration work, including Victory Pier, the potential proposals for The Strand in Gillingham and potential relocation of Gillingham Football Club.”
Member of Parliament for Gillingham and Rainham, Rehman Chishti MP added: “It was a real pleasure to host Mark Francois MP on his visit to the Gillingham and Rainham constituency, seeing the fantastic regeneration work at Victory Pier and the Strand and visiting our brilliant local football team The Gills.”
The Minister was introduced to the Gills staff