The Glovers’ Trust has published the minutes of its recent meeting with South Somerset District Council (SSDC) from February 2nd.

The minutes are as follows:

 

In attendance – SSDC

Jane Portman (Chief Executive), Robert Orrett (Commercial Property, Land and Development Manager), Councillor John Clark (Portfolio Holder – Economic Development including Commercial Strategy.

In attendance – Glovers’ Trust (GT)
Roger Pipe (Chair), Jane Haine (Board Member and Secretary), and Andrew Skirton (Member).

Reasons for purchase:

SSDC Members were made aware by Scott Priestnall of the difficult financial situation facing the club and were concerned that it would go into administration and be sold, with potentially the loss of the club completely. The Council therefore agreed to purchase the Stadium and the surrounding land for £2.8 million. This was not the amount received by the club as payments such as the release of covenants were made and deducted from that sum.

SSDC made it clear it did not feel that it was their place to influence or control where the money given to the club was to be spent but were aware that some was used to pay debts.

GT’s representatives made it clear that despite repeated requests no breakdown of how the money received has been spent or allocated has been received by the supporters.

Due Diligence
SSDC engaged independent advisers to ascertain the commercial value of the land and also undertook an evaluation of the club’s finances. No DD has been undertaken on the owner.

Rental
Yeovil Football and Athletic Club (YFAC) are obliged to pay the rent that will commence in May this year. The rental figure is 7% of the purchase price.

Buyback
The option to buy back rests exclusively with the Holding Company and extends until May 26. There are two leases one with YFAC and one with Yeovil Town Holdings Ltd ( YTH). SSDC stated that in their eyes both companies constituted Yeovil Town as they had shared interests. Both leases are linked meaning that one company picks up the obligations of the other. Failure for the club to pay the rental therefore would mean the Holding Company would be obliged to do so.

“Core land”
The area defined as the “core” i.e., that area needed to enable the club to function has changed from that set out in the Council report to members in December 2020. SSDC stated that this had been necessary to enable flexibility in the development. Potentially enabling the artificial pitch to move to the other side of the ground on land that was previously leased to the Club on a 999-year lease from SSDC. This land is subject to restrictive covenants preventing certain uses, so could be an area to relocate the artificial pitch and the two top pitches.

Development of the land previously owned by the Holding Company
SSDC stated that little had appeared to have happened since the purchase last May. It was suggested by GT that a meeting with planners to discuss and initial plan had taken place. GT does not wish to see a development up to the front and back doors. SSDC indicated that they would not influence the proposal that would be brought forward, and that proposals would be considered by the planning department.

GT expressed concern that the planning process does not offer the club sufficient protection.

The valuable option to buy back the land and the stadium rests exclusively with the Holding Company and extends to May 2026. It seems likely that Scott Priestnall will use this time to seek to gain valuable planning permission to develop the land surrounding the ground.

GT recognise that if such planning permission was achieved the value of the land could increase substantially. SSDC indicated that in such a scenario they would have no powers to influence where any of the windfall profits from any future sale of the land could be allocated. GT members expressed concerns that this could enable the owner to retain all profits without investing in the club.

GT members made it clear to SSDC that far from safeguarding the club the structure of the purchase has benefited the owner and will continue to benefit the owner.

SSDC agreed to answer any other questions put to them in writing.

 


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