Canterbury City FC has resubmitted plans for a new football stadium and sports hub at Bridge.
It consists of three-pitch football complex which also includes a new home for Canterbury Rugby Club.
If approved, the proposal for land at Highland Court Farm at Coldharbour Lane would mean the permanent return of senior football to the Canterbury district after nearly two decades.
The club lost its Kingsmead Stadium in 1999 when it was redeveloped as housing and then folded in 2001 before reforming in 2007.
Chairman Tim Clark said: “This is a pivotal moment in the club’s history and the significance of finally going to planning cannot be understated.
“So 19 years after the football club was originally made homeless and 11 years since the football club reincorporated as a Community Interest Company a planning application has finally been submitted to resolve this long standing injustice.
“The social, physical and indeed mental health benefits of sports participation are well known and if this facility becomes a reality within a year or two we will see a local explosion in football participation and so there are long term significant local benefits in granting this application.”
Developer Quinn Estates has worked on the plans. The football element of the complex would sit on eight acres of land and the rugby club on 15 acres having left its present home at Merton Lane off Nackington Road.
The complex would sit next to the St Lawrence and Highland Court Cricket Club.
However, there are fears locally about the impact of the scale of the development in a rural setting.
Mr Clark has set to allay those concerns. He said: “As a club we are mindful that the proposal relates to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“There are around 2000 people already employed on the industrial estate there. The proposed business and tourist facilities as part of this planning application would not only complement this existing commercial use but enhance it by opening up the area to much wider public benefit and enjoyment not to mention creating many 100s of much needed jobs locally and all accessed by a significantly underused major road junction off the A2.
“This well thought out planning application really is the last hope for your city’s senior football club and without embracing this application I do fear that the club is likely to go the way it did in 2001 and cease to exist.
“What a wasted opportunity that would be when the alternative is a super sports hub comprising football, rugby and cricket which will serve and benefit all ages of the local community for the next 100 years and beyond.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Canterbury on the map both from a sporting and a tourist perspective with the social, health and financial benefits that will bring. This application has my full and unreserved support.”
Anyone wishing to look at the detailed plans for the complex can do so on the planning section of the Canterbury City Council website.
The authority’s planning committee will have the final say on the matter.