FOOTBALL fans and residents using Colchester United’s Community Stadium are getting along just fine, a survey has found.

When the Weston Homes Community Stadium finally opened its doors last August, Mile End residents were in uproar as fans clogged up their streets on match days, despite the introduction of a free shuttle bus service from near Colchester North Station.

Some claimed fans had sworn at them and even urinated in public, while marshals were quickly put in place to encourage supporters to take other ways to get to the ground.

A survey of residents’ views by Councillor Martin Goss (Lib Dem, Mile End) showed that although improvements can be made, residents are largely happy with the arrangements.

He said the recent derby encounter against Southend United, which attracted a record 8,651 crowd, resulted in only one complaint about cars parking in Howards Croft.

“The general consensus is that people are much more content than they were when the ground first opened,” he said. “Problems seem to be less and people seem to be happier.”

Boxted Road resident Malcolm Nicholson, praised new chief executive Steve Bradshaw for taking a hands-on approach to problems.

“We did have issues in the early part of the season but a lot of these have gone away,” he said.

“We’re happy with the way things have moved along and there’s been quite a lot of improvement.

“But we’re still concerned that if Colchester United have gates of 8,000 to 10,000, then the problems may come back.”

Mr Bradshaw said: “We are really pleased with what the local residents have said. The football club has worked hard since moving in to be a good neighbour.

“Of course, there were teething problems along the way, but we have worked in partnership with the borough council and other local agencies to ensure that we have enhanced the community offer in the area.

“As Colchester United maintains its aspirations to be a Championship club, it will continue to consult with the local community as to any new developments. This will ensure the club’s desire to be a true community partner.”