The land which sits around Yeovil Town’s Huish Park stadium has never really been anything which has probably bothered many supporters.

However, the land is now the centre of attention with speculation around a takeover of the club by one of two unidentified consortiums, according to a statement from the Glovers’ Trust – see here.

It was back in 2010 that then-chairman John Fry and owner Norman Hayward created Yeovil Town Holdings Limited, a company which the pair then transferred the freehold of the land which borders the stadium in to.

That land covers the astroturf, small car park and land where the club’s marquee stands at the front of the stadium, along with the top pitches, a good chunk of the main car park and the area behind the Thatcher’s Gold terrace.

Land owned by Yeovil Town Holdings Limited is bordered in red – except the bit in mint green which is owned by Yeovil Athletic & Football Club Limited.

A slice of land which includes part of the car park and borders Western Avenue is owned by South Somerset District Council.

Today, Yeovil Town Holdings Limited  has two directors, Glovers’ chairman Scott Priestnall and his fellow director Glenn Collis, following the takeover led by Priestnall and is (now former) business partner Errol Pope in 2019.

The land which the stadium sits upon is owned by another company, Yeovil Football & Athletic Club Limited, whose directors are also Priestnall and Collis.

The division of land has been this way since John Fry and Norman Hayward asked the club’s shareholders to vote in favour of the decision to divide the assets and won the vote – unsurprisingly given the pair held 92% of the shares.

The restructuring was sold as a way to enable the development of the land for the benefit of the club and the former owners tried – and failed – to get developments through. Who can forget the proposal with Chris Dawson, the owner of The Range, which promised a 3,500-seater stand where the away end now is back in 2011?

And who would disagree with that principle? The idea of developing land around the stadium to make it generate income seven days a week – as opposed to between midday and 6pm on a Saturday matchday – should be actively encouraged.

The question comes down to who benefits from the sale/development of the land.

Scott Priestnall has spoken of a desire to develop the land around the stadium and he told Somerset Live in December 2019 that he would only make decisions on development which were “right for the football club.”

However, within just a few months of making this statement, the COVID-19 pandemic struck with the jigsaw pieces going up in the air.

The next we heard of plans for ownership of the land was the sale and lease back deal offered by SSDC – if you need reminding about that, see here.

But with that deal seemingly off the table, what do we now about who owns of the land around Huish Park and the land the stadium itself is built on?

The simple answer is somewhat unsurprisingly – Scott Priestnall and Glenn Collis as the directors of the two companies which own the different parcels of land.

The Land Registry documents which confirm the ownership of both pieces of land both include a charge from MSP Capital, a Poole-based property finance firm, which the chairman raised money from at the time of his takeover.

In the recent accounts of CV Leisure, the company set up by Priestnall and his former partner Errol Pope to complete the takeover from Fry and Hayward in 2019, the loan facility from MSP Capital is worth £1.35m.

Back in 2019, Somerset Live described the charges as “effectively mortgaging” Huish Park and its land to complete the deal.

The same article explained that no development of the land can take place without the say so of MSP Capital and that the lender had the right to take control of the land in the event it did not get its money back.

In the article, Priestnall was quoted as saying: “Those charges may well change. They may well come off over the next couple of months depending on what we decide to do.

The presence of the charges more than two years on would suggest that what the chairman decided to do did not involve removing the charges from the club.

In summary, what we know both the land which Huish Park sits on and the land around it are in the ownership of Scott Priestnall and, at least in name, Glenn Collis.

This is where the unanswered questions lie. If there is a takeover, will the deal be the assets held by both companies – Yeovil Town Holdings and Yeovil Athletic & Football Club, in case we’ve lost you by now.

One assumes that such a detail will only become public if and when any takeover is completed and presently the silence on that is deafening.


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