South Somerset District Council has confirmed its offer to purchase and leaseback Huish Park remains on the table and the decision whether to proceed with it rests with owner and Chairman Scott Priestnall.
Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 26), a moratorium which prevented the deal agreed last December from going ahead is due to end.
We put these questions to SSDC:
- Following the conclusion of the moratorium, when will South Somerset District Council (SSDC) be concluding the deal with the owners of Yeovil Town Football Club?
- Can the council confirm the name of the company with which this agreement has been reached?
- Can you provide details of how soon you expect the agreement to be concluded?
- How will the changes in the council impact things if the owner chooses to continue with the sale?
In a statement to the Gloverscast, a council spokesperson said:
“Following the end of the six-month moratorium period under the relevant regulations, the owners of YTFC are free to sell to whomever they choose and at whatever price they agree. The council’s offer remains available if the owners wish to take it up at the end of this period. Ultimately, the final decision and timing sits with the owners, therefore the council cannot provide any more detail at this time. No doubt after the end of the moratorium period more discussion with SSDC and YTFC will take place.”
The spokesperson added that the situation with the restructuring of the various councils in Somerset makes the future of the site unclear. They said:
“Any commercial portfolio would be taken forward into which ever new organisations or new organisation is formed. It will be up to the Leadership of any new administration to determine what it will do with assets it holds and it’s impossible to speculate at this stage what those decisions would be. A continued commercial approach to financially support services is included in the Stronger Somerset proposal.”
On Tuesday night, the Glovers’ Trust, which triggered the moratorium when it decided to activate an Asset of Community Value (ACV) it holds on Huish Park, said it was not in a position to make a counter offer to SSDC’s.
In a statement, the Trust said it believed the club’s future was “in jeopardy” in the deal was able to go ahead – see more here.
It also called for the Council to review the decision to approve the deal with Chairman Priestnall – see more here.
In the minutes of the council’s District Executive Committee on December 3 where the deal was agreed, Mr Priestnall said “the finance would help the club to survive and thrive in the future to retain football league status and have a club which the local community could be proud of. “
The minutes added: “He (Priestnall) confirmed that he was not seeking to recoup any of his personal investment in the club through the transaction.”
In his last public statement published on February 24, Mr Priestnall said he was “still exploring” the deal and had “kept dialogue open” with the council. In that statement, he added: “We also have offers to sell the land when the moratorium period ends. A decision will be made once the Sport England loan position is finalised as to our next step with regards a full planning application.”
For more details on the history of the SSDC deal and the Glovers Trust’s ACV, read our Gloversblog – here.