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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
Club 'can start work on stadium'
Dover Athletic's Crabble ground
Margate have been playing home games at Dover Athletic's ground
A football club which was relegated because it did not have its own stadium has been told it can start work on a new ground.

Margate Football Club was relegated from the Conference to the Conference South in the summer.

Its had already demolished Hartsdown Park when plans to start work on its replacement were stopped and the club had to share with Dover Athletic.

But on Friday, Thanet District Council told the club work could begin.

Control of land

Margate have not played in their home town since 2002 following the closure of Hartsdown Park, the club's home since 1929.

Directors planned a 6,000-seater replacement for the stadium but work stalled after disagreements between the club and Thanet District Council.

But the authority said it had merely insisted on a clause stating that if the football club folded, control of the land returned to the council.

Margate were demoted from the Nationwide Conference in May, despite having finished 15th - five places above the relegation zone.

Hartsdown Park after demolition work
Hartsdown Park once held 14,500 people but now stands empty

League bosses said Margate could only play in the Conference South if the team returned to its own stadium next season.

Club management had warned they could fold if permission was not given soon for work on the stadium to start.

At Friday's meeting between the council, the club and supporters' associations, the council offered the club a 10-year lease on the land with a view to allowing building work to start.

Council leader Sandy Ezekiel said: "The council sees no reason why the club cannot go ahead and start work immediately on their new stadium at Hartsdown Park.

"We want to see Margate Football Club playing in their home town again."

Margate's stadium manager Keith Piper said: "Across the board it's very good news for the club and for the council as well."

He said he thought the new stadium would open in time for the start of next season in August 2005.

Margate accept demotion
21 May 04  |  Margate
New hope for football stadium
08 Feb 04  |  Kent
Final stadium plans approved
17 Apr 03  |  Kent

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