The Kersal Moor Residents Association is dismayed at Salford City Council’s decision to allow Salford City FC’s planned expansion.
“The panel and the council seem to be wowed by the idea of celebrity and the fact that in some ways this will put Salford on the map,” said David Mintz, chairman of the Kersal Moor Residents Association. This was in response to the recent decision by Salford City Council allowing Salford City Football Club to go ahead with expansion plans of the club’s ground on Moor Lane, in the heart of the Salford’s Jewish community. Despite over 600 objections, Salford councillors on the planning panel voted through proposals by the club to double the capacity of its stadium from 2,163 to 5,172.
The football club, which is part-owned by Manchester United’s ‘Class of 92’, comprising Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, has grown exponentially since the footballing quintet took over the club in 2014, and the semi-professional team is just two promotions away from League Two.
David, who lives a three-minute walk away from the club, explained that the residents association was created out of a need to address the concerns that the football club’s proposals had brought about: “There was no real public consultation and the residents weren’t consulted as to how the plans were going to affect them, in terms of parking, loss of amenity and anti-social behaviour. So the residents came together and formed the association and we managed to get over 300 objections and 637 signatures on a petition against the plans. The Bishop of Manchester also wrote to object to it. Pretty much everybody on a democratic level has spoken up and said that they don’t want it to happen.”
Many of the residents’ concerns, such as the dropping of litter on match days, were addressed by Gary Neville on the night of a recent council committee meeting that saw over 60 objectors to the plans in attendance. Gary commented on the issue, saying: “Litter has always been a shared concern. The idea that our fans and opposition fans litter the streets is unacceptable to us and unacceptable to residents. When we do move towards full-time status in the next six months, we will make sure that we have a proper litter strategy…we will put bins outside and if we have to get the first team players and ourselves to pick up litter outside the ground we will do so; that is a commitment we will make.”
However, this did little to allay the fears of the local residents, who feel let down by the club. “There’s a human cost to all of this, and that is being paid by residents,” David argued. “We want assurances on parking and on noise, and assurances that emergency vehicles will be able to get down our streets with no problem. We want assurances that there is going to be proper policing of crowds so that there are no instances of anti-social behaviour, and for the club to fork out for policing the park themselves. We don’t want the taxpayer to pick up the tab for it.”
The Kersal Moor Residents Association is now considering standing a candidate in the forthcoming local Kersal by-election in 2017 in order to have a stake in the plans for the expansion.