As the Echo reports today, the government have ‘called in’ the decisions by Rochford and Southend Councils to approve the planning applications from Southend United Football Club.
Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said plans for a 22,000-seater stadium at Fossetts Farm should go to public inquiry, partly because of concerns over the use of green belt and the housing and flats planned for it.
The planning inspectorate will consider written submissions from the club, Southend Council and any other organisations or individuals before setting a date for the inquiry. It is expected this will be a lengthy process.
A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government said: “An application of this nature can take six months to a year.” Southend United chairman Ron Martin planned to have the stadium ready for the 2008 season. He hoped to avoid an inquiry because the plans had been supported Southend Council and Rochford Council.
You can find an intelligent discussion by SUFC fans about this here.