We have two major aims to ensure we have a viable and financially sustainable football club and that we get to Winklebury as soon as possible.
Originally, we were advised that money would be made available up front to pay for the necessary ground improvements at Winklebury to meet league standards. However, subsequent to the public meeting in April we learned that Basron Developments, the owner of the Camrose, would only pay money (the fully pledged £250,000) on receiving planning permission for the residential redevelopment of the Camrose. It also seems that we must wait for the sale of the land to be complete and receipts received.
This position meant that in order to undertake ground works at the same time as work on the 3G pitch we have been helped significantly by supporter loans to pay for hard standing, the base for stands and turnstiles and a new access path from the Car Park. But we don’t have the funds to pay for stands etc.
At three meetings with Basron (Messrs Razzak and McPhail), we have pressed hard for an upfront payment of £150,000 to undertake the minimal additional works needed for Southern League South. While Basron have agreed to put in writing the pledge for payment of £250,000, they have disappointedly not shifted the position: essentially no payment until Camrose planning permission.
This leads to a degree of uncertainty with which we are not comfortable to say the least. In response, Basron are adamant that they are working on the objections to planning received – including those from Sport England – and are confident that they will receive planning approval in August. We are doubtful because we understand that to satisfy the Sport England objection as to loss of amenity and the need for ‘like for like’ replacement would cost more than the pledged £250,000. This sum would not cover the total improvements including a decent club house.
We recognise that the steps that we now have to take mean that Winklebury will not be ready for us until late October at the earliest. This again is disappointing not only because of the burden upon and inconvenience for our fans but also the serious impact on income and our momentum.
A prolonged period of ground sharing risks the financial sustainability our constitution as a community club requires. In the coming period we shall be closely examining how we address this vitally important issue. Our aim must be to secure a viable approach – with appropriate income generation – that builds for a successful future.
Under the Community Club, the Sports and Education Academy and Football in the Community initiative will move to Winklebury in August/September.
Transfer of the FA Licence to Play
It is nearly two months since the request to the National FA was made and we are still awaiting a decision. BT Ltd still hold the FA licence to play though the Community Club is meeting costs before competitive league fixtures begin. The Community Club takes the income from tonight’s game.
Depending on further progress we anticipate a membership meeting will take place in the near future.