SALFORD City Football Club’s plans to re-develop Moor Lane to a capacity of 5,000 have been approved after a council meeting this afternoon.

The plans, which include doubling the current capacity of the ground in Kersal, were approved after being put in front of the city council’s planning committee at the Civic Centre in Swinton.

The re-development plans involve completely demolishing the Moor Lane ground, where the Club have played since 1978, and putting in four new stands as Salford aim to prepare for the Football League.

Hundreds of local residents had expressed concerns about the proposed stadium renovation, over 50 objectors to the plans attended the meeting.

The meeting saw these objectors given a chance to have their say on the development, before part-owners Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs themselves spoke on behalf of the football club.

Salford City Council planning chiefs recommended the application for approval, whilst Transport for Greater Manchester bosses have also approved travel and traffic proposals.

Alice Searle, objecting on behalf of Friends of Kersal Moor, gave Neville a bag full of rubbish after claiming that the increased capacity will also increase the amount of litter in the area.

Neville chose not to accept the bag.

Salford City Protests
Photo by Eleanor Haigh.

Objector Howard Balkind added his concerns about the re-development, and said: “Salford City FC has always been an amateur club. Suddenly it’s going to be a professional football club.

”We actually have no commercial premises in that part of the community. Suddenly you’re going to get a full football ground.”

Kersal is an area where Jewish people make up 41% of residents, and one member of the Jewish religion expressed his concerns about continuing religious practice if the capacity of the ground was to increase.

He said: “The Sabbath is our day of rest. Thousands of football fans walking past would disrupt this.”

Gary Neville responded to this claim, and assured that he “would be horrified if there was any anti-social or anti-Semitic behaviour from our fans on the way to a match.”

Another protester, who wished to remain anonymous, said “I have switched off my lights and drawn my curtains yet I am still able to read my copy of Gary Neville’s autobiography due to the car floodlights coming through my window.”

Responding to the objections, ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville stressed the fact that the aim of the development is to act as an investment in the local area.

“Football has become disconnected – historically it’s spirit is the heart of the community”, Neville said. “The reason we took this on is to give youth an opportunity and to give a City that’s given so much to us something back and to us the idea this doesn’t connect with the local community isn’t good.”

Neville’s old team-mate Giggs added that the re-development could help tackle the issue of obesity in the local area, and said: “Obesity is a growing concern, becoming more dangerous than drugs. we want to help combat it by having a facility that the public can use.”

Salford City’s decision to upgrade their stadium comes after back-to-back non-league promotions up to the Vanarama National League North, where they currently sit sixth in the table.

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