London's oldest football club has been given the green light to build a new football stadium in Chislehurst following a 12 year struggle for a permanent home.

Cray Wanderers' second attempt to push through their Flamingo Park park project was approved at a council meeting last night, March 13.

A previous scheme was blocked by Sadiq Khan in 2016, but last night councillors voted through the plans to demolish a nightclub in place of a stadium, new 3-G football pitches and 42 homes.

The Wands, who were founded in 1860, had been ground sharing with Bromley FC in Hayes whilst they attempted to get permission to return to what the club calls its "heartland."

The club is the second oldest to still be playing football, with Sheffield United, founded three years earlier, being the oldest.

Gary Hillman, the club's chairman, said: "This is a fantastic result for Cray Wanderers and for the wider football community. I have been completely taken aback by the huge response to the decision, my phone and social media hasn't stopped since the approval was given and we have received support from other clubs all over London who have recognised our struggle.

"We hope the Mayor will now be able to see the fantastic merits of the scheme, and will feel this revised application addresses his previous concerns, will benefit to the community, returning a disused piece of land to community sporting use.

"There are over 2 million people that are directly and indirectly involved in football in London so to have the future of London's oldest football club secure, especially in an area which hasn't seen any real investment in football or other sporting facilities over the years, is a huge positive."

News Shopper: Plans are set to be debated tomorrow night

Impressions of what the new ground will look like once it is completed

The new stadium would be able to house 1,300 fans, and there are also plans for three additional 11 a-side pitches, a 7 a-side pitch and two five a-side pitches which will be used by the club's junior sides.

Chislehurst councillor Ian Payne said he supported the decision for the stadium.

He told News Shopper: "I am absolutely delighted that this scrubland will finally have something with real character and something for the community. Even though it is green belt land it has been badly abused, so I am delighted."

The approval ends some uncertainty for the club, and has been well received by supports as well as the Isthmian South league, which congratulated Wanderers.

Concerns had been raised about the use of green belt land - which was why the original plan was thrown out by City Hall.

In its application, the club said it had addressed previous concerns by reducing the amount of developed land included in the scheme and increasing the amount of "community opportunities."

Officers had recommended that this revised application be thrown out because of its use of green belt, however councillors pushed it through 11 votes to 3.

The new pitch will be built at the Flamingo Park Club near Sidcup By Pass in Chislehurst.

The site is currently used as a nightclub, and the pavilion has also hosted boot camps and boot fairs.

Prior to the meeting, neighbours had raised concerns over the impact of traffic the games and new houses would have on parking and the roads.

Another club which has its future thrown into doubt was Dulwich Hamlet, who last night was told that Southwark Council had applied to buy the land needed for them to secure a ground.

The final approval for the stadium is still to come from the Mayor.


MP for Bromley and Chislehurst, Bob Neill, encouraged the mayor to give the plans the greenlight.

He told News Shopper: "This is very welcome news. It gives a permanent home to a successful local football club, increases community sports facilities and gives valuable affordable housing.

"It preserves and upgrades the open space on the rest of the site, which is underused at present.

"The Mayor of London should now get behind the scheme, rather than blocking it as he has before."