In July 2022 we began the process of consulting residents, Ebbsfleet United Football Club supporters and stakeholders on our plans for Northfleet Harbourside, a new neighbourhood with Ebbsfleet United Football Club at its heart.
Throughout the consultation, we met with around 250 residents, club supporters and local councillors at our events in person and online. We quickly saw themes appear in the feedback. The football club and development team have worked together to go through these comments and provide answers to the questions raised.
This is your influence on the plans and future of Northfleet and the stadium for Ebbsfleet United Football Club.
The importance and heritage of the football club was highlighted by the majority of respondents. Fans also provided the following feedback:
- New stadium facilities and their potential impact on ticket prices
- Ownership of the football club
- The need for standing options for fans
Northfleet Harbourside response: The importance of Ebbsfleet United Football Club locally is recognised and as such, the proposal for Northfleet Harbourside is centred around the new stadium.
The new stadium on the current site will secure the future of the football club, retaining the heritage and ownership of the ground and stadium for EUFC.
We understand that with the new stadium facilities coming forward, there is some concern about ticket prices and affordability. Being the catalyst for Northfleet Harbourside, the new stadium will provide financial stability for the football club, enabling EUFC to continue to invest in the club, thereby keeping ticket prices at a level that is affordable to everyone. We are also exploring a package which will enable residents / supporters living close to the ground to have ticket discounts and other benefits.
Having listened to EUFC supporters concerns and views around the current new stand build, and proposals for the plough end, we have ensured that the new multi-purpose stadium will comprise of a mixture of seating and standing space, and a hybrid pitch ensuring the club is using the latest pitch technologies.
The need for investment in local services was a key theme in the feedback received, with respondents raising the need for more doctors, dentists, and medical services in the area. The lack of school provision was another key concern for respondents who also raised the possibility of provision for leisure facilities such as a library or a community centre.
Northfleet Harbourside response: We are aware of the need for medical services and additional infrastructure in the local area and will work with Gravesham Borough Council and the ICS (Integrated Care System, formerly the Clinical Commissioning Group) to find ways to address local needs.
We are also aware neighbouring developments are bringing forward health provision, which we are working to understand to ensure our proposals are complementary and deliver genuine community benefits. Investment in local services will include healthcare (such as dental surgeries or physios) alongside childcare and play spaces. Ensuring a balance of much-needed community based medical services between Northfleet Harborside and neighbouring developments is a key priority.
Roads and parking
Concerns about the impact of the proposals on roads and parking were raised, with respondents feeling that the local infrastructure may not cope with the increase in traffic.
Northfleet Harbourside response: The provision of parking is a key component for Northfleet Harbourside and EUFC and requires considerable inputs from many stakeholders to get the balance right.
The site is being designed to minimise the need for site users to travel by car. Whilst there will be a significant number of parking spaces due to the scale of development, the vision for the development is to make sustainable travel far more convenient for site users, with opportunities for car ownership limited within the scheme.
Parking for football fans is provided in the new development for matchday parking, along with offsite provisions currently in place. The close links with the trainline will continue to be a feature of the match day experience and our key stakeholders and the council are working hard to ensure easy and affordable access as supporters and fans currently enjoy.
Harbour and river
The need to create a space for natural migration of wildlife on the river was raised and the effect the proposals would have on the river was another key concern for respondents. Additionally, it was suggested that there should be more green spaces, especially near the river.
Northfleet Harbourside response: We recognise the importance of the river and as such have worked to ensure that our proposals not only preserve nature but improve on the amount of accessible and meaningful green, safe and clean spaces. We also want to open up the river frontage to allow people access to a path along the Thames to experience views and environment there.
We are continuing discussions with the owners of the harbour, in order to help realise many of the current proposals that envisage a sustainable reintegration of the water course – embracing ecology, flora and fauna and public re-engagement with these presently ‘forgotten’ lands.
Northfleet Harbourside will include publicly accessible green spaces (including parklands, seating areas and children play space) – increasing the current natural habitats on the site by 480%.
There are no works proposed beyond the river wall, so there will be no impact upon marine or migratory wildlife, and this is being considered as part of the planning application.
Safety and security
Ensuring that public spaces are maintained and kept safe was another key concern for respondents.
Northfleet Harbourside response: Our team is committed to ensuring that Northfleet Harbourside is a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone.
The public spaces will be designed to foster community activity across all age groups. High levels of accessibility are envisioned to promote activity throughout the day and evening, encouraging a spirit of community stewardship and natural surveillance.
The residential neighbourhoods, alongside football club staff, service and retails workers, will create natural safety and passive surveillance for a 24/7 community environment.
The importance of respecting local heritage was highlighted by most residents and a consistent theme across our consultation events. Residents would like to see both the football club and local community celebrated as part of the development.
Northfleet Harbourside response: Northfleet Harbourside is for Gravesham. We recognise the importance of heritage to local residents and stakeholders, and we are exploring ways to integrate this into our proposals.
Starting with the inclusion of “Northfleet” in the name of the project, we would like to go a step further by consulting on the naming of the streets within the masterplan. We are seeking feedback from local historians, councillors and residents on their ideas for the street names. The first, Stonebridge Road, will continue to exist and remain the stadium address.
Our team are also discussing the possibility of a heritage trail and public art across the masterplan, celebrating the site’s history and providing residents with an opportunity to share their stories.
These are only some of the ideas for celebrating the history of the area, and we will continue to explore other ideas as the masterplan is progressed.
Sustainability and environment
Feedback received, particularly via the questionnaires, highlighted the importance of sustainability measures across the development. Some respondents said they would like to see Northfleet Harbourside have good carbon footprint and minimal environmental impact including the provision of safe cycling routes throughout the site and local area.
Northfleet Harbourside response: Northfleet Harbourside intends to bring the best practice, to include rainwater harvesting, and working efficiently to minimise our communities’ impacts, and reverse the current trend, and give something back. We are aiming to be a Carbon Neutral community for all our stakeholders by 2050.
A site-wide sustainability strategy has been developed to ensure the development achieves a high level of environmental and social sustainability performance.
Power generation within the site will include:
- Ground source heat
- Waste to energy
- Central district heating
The proposals will include cycle and pedestrian prioritised streets that promote active commuting and use of sustainable methods of transport extensive networks of e-scooter, e-bike and car charging facilities will be positioned throughout. We will also be developing highly sustainable and energy efficient buildings and obtaining internationally recognised sustainability certification.