Meet maybe the only people in Nottingham who do want Forest to move to Toton

Matchday parking on Gresham Gardens in West Bridgford
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)


Residents of a cul-de-sac in West Bridgford said it would be "lovely" if Nottingham Forest moved to Toton - on the day it was announced that an agreement has been made in principle for the club to remain at the City Ground. Gresham Gardens, just off Wilford Lane in the leafy Nottinghamshire town, is situated right next to the Nigel Doughty Academy training ground.

But its proximity to the Reds' home stadium also means it is a popular spot for fans parking their cars on matchdays. And residents say it has got worse over the last few years - especially since the side has been promoted to the Premier League.

"Matchdays are a big issue," say one couple who live on the road. "They park on both sides. This road is not designed for people parking on both sides. We're blocked in our properties. It's a no-go area for us. We're trapped. We can't come, we can't go. If an ambulance wanted to get down, it couldn't."

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Photographs of cars lined up on the kerb have been taken by residents as evidence as to how bad the issue has become. Diane Cooksey, 58, moved into her home on the road when Forest's training ground was already here - so it wasn't like she was taken aback by football-related issues - but she'd still rather fans take a minute to think about the quiet neighbourhood they're in when they arrive and return.

"When there's a late game they come back and slam their doors at 10pm," she explains. "If they were a little bit more considerate it would be nice."

Others cut more straightly to the point. "They're a nightmare," said one woman, who has lived on the street for 17 years.

"The parking's wicked. If you're not careful, you back into a car as you come off your drive. But it's just something that you have to put up with.

"It would be lovely (if the stadium was) in Toton," she added. "Let them have some of it," she chuckled.

Parking problems are exacerbated by the club's Premier League status. We reported in June about how life on Gresham Close, on the opposite side of the training ground's access road to Gresham Gardens, is difficult when noise from the club's gym is audible in their back gardens.

That problem now appears to have reached an agreed resolution, with the club having submitted plans to build a more soundproof gym. But autograph hunters, which were also mentioned, is a lesser-settled issue.

And it's arguably worse for those on this side. Nottingham Forest's continuing efforts to work with residents has led to the club sticking plastic signs outside advising those seeking signatures that players will not stop when they drive past on their way out.

But it remains to be seen whether that works come the start of the new season. This week, in fact, there have been gatherings near the gates, Gresham Gardens residents say.

On this Monday morning (July 8), it's relatively quiet. But during the season, the issue could not be more pertinent for residents, some of whom were here even before the training ground was built.

"It's the regulars who come during the week," says one lady. "They park on double yellow lines - even when there's space further up not to - and block you getting into the road, and then glare at you. They're all over the place."

"It's got worse since they got to the Premier League. And there's a new signing every day. It's like a revolving door. So there's always someone to get an autograph from."

Dave Savidge, who has lived on Gresham Close for twelve years, says the issue has improved. "We are working so closely with (the club)," explains the 62-year-old.

"We have a quarterly meeting to try and resolve the issue. It's got a thousand times better since near the end of last season."

Long may that remain the case for these residents. But it's too late for some.

Those living at number two on Gresham Gardens, right next to the entrance, moved out in light of the constant presence of those lurking outside their home.

One resident explains that fans will leave empty coffee cups and cigarette butts on her driveway. A separate resident reports that fans once set up deckchairs on his garden to camp outside the training ground.

But not everyone's so critical.

"I love Forest," says one woman. "They can park here if they like, as long as they don't sit on my garden. The litter's annoying. But I love them."