EVESHAM United's controversial plans to relocate to Cheltenham Road are due to go before Wychavon District Council next month.

Members of the planning committee will be asked to decide whether or not to pass outline plans to enable the football club to move from its present Common Road site.

The club has made several attempts to relocate from the town centre over the past 10 years, however each time a new site was found it proved either unsuitable, unpopular or too expensive.

Now club managers are attempting for the second time to gain permission to move to the edge of town.

They say the site has easy access off the Cheltenham Road bypass, is situated not too close to houses and the 22 acres of land it has an option to buy is affordable with room for expansion.

There are, however, two main obstacles.

The proposed site is on green belt land, which attracts objections from country lovers and environmentalists, and is opposed by residents living in and around Cheltenham Road.

At a public meeting last Thursday, about 150 supporters and objectors turned up at the town hall to hear Evesham United's proposals.

At times tempers flared when one-to-one arguments broke out between residents and the football fans.

Cheltenham Road resident, Keith Murphy said: "I do not want it at my back door.

"I am concerned about the noise, the extra traffic passing my home and late night vandalism.

"The value of my property will go down. It may be mercenary but I am entitled to be."

Another nearby resident said the club would make her life a misery.

Others were concerned that if plans were passed, restrictions placed on the club about noise levels, licensing hours and flood lighting, may not be adhered to when it was up and running.

Residents accused managers of deliberately running the club down to demonstrate the need to move which outraged United staff who called for an apology.

It took a Canadian at the meeting, however, to try to bring the two sides together.

James Fleck, who owns the Subway sandwich bar in Bridge Street, called for the people of Evesham to be united.

He said: "We had the same problem back home with poor sporting facilities.

"The town had only 5,000 residents not 20,000 like Evesham, but they all rallied round.

"They built the best sporting facility with football and hockey pitches, and tennis courts for miles around. People travelled in to use the facilities which revitalised the town.

"Surely some sacrifices are worth making for the greater good of the town, its economy and the young people."

His plea could fall on deaf ears, however, from the guardians of the countryside.

Chairman of Hinton-on-the-Green and Aston Somerville Parish Councils, Tony Patterson said: "My main concern is the erosion of the green belt.

"The town will be impinging on the countryside.

"Another objection we have is a seven-day a week licensed club house sited off a busy main junction.

"We know the club needs to move and we are not against that - we just think the new site should be in the town."

Head of Wychavon's planning department, Jack Hegarty said the plans were likely to go before the committee either on April 5 or 26.