South Somerset District Council has confirmed that “initial discussions” are underway around the development of land around Huish Park

It is now more than three months since the council bought the home of Yeovil Town FC and land around it in a deal believed to be worth £2.8m, which sees the club now rent the stadium and “core land” around it under a 30-year lease.

In response to an enquiry from the Gloverscast, Robert Orrett, Commercial Property, Land and Development Manager at SSDC, said: “I can confirm that I have joined some initial discussions about the preparation of development proposals so it is fair to say that aspect has been commenced.”

Our query followed the publication of the minutes of a Supporter Alliance meeting held at the end of June which were published by the Glovers Trust last week, which included reference to chairman Scott Priestnall saying: “There are temporary plans for new amenities in the new season, but planning permission is required to develop the club’s footprint for the future.

The process towards achieving planning permission in order to develop the site has begun.

The chairman also stated that any money raised through the development of the site would be “used to invest in the club in order to make it more sustainable.

The council deal would see the ‘core’ (red) and non-core (blue) land bought by SSDC.

The minutes also included reference to Scott Priestnall telling the Alliance meeting: “The club has a four-year period to buy back the land from SSDC.”

To at least our memory on Gloverscast, we were not aware of this detail and enquired about it with SSDC and received the following response from Mr Orrett: “It is correct that Yeovil Town Holdings Limited has a four-year period during which they can buy back the whole of the YTFC freeholds that have been purchased by SSDC. In broad terms, that would reverse the purchase.

 

“Beyond that, there are continuing arrangements that are linked to the structure that enables consented non-core land to be sold off by SSDC, with the non-core lease surrendered, and the sale proceeds to be used to repay the capital SSDC has put in.

These are following the approach summarised in the report and continue in the longer term. If the land sale price for the non-core land is high enough, then the rent for the core land that is left, reduces to a peppercorn and essentially the club can buy the core land back for £1.

Simple right?! If you are struggling to remember what constitutes core and non-core land as part of this sale, join the club. In simple terms, the core land is indicated in the red on the map, above, and basically covers the stadium and 3G pitches outside it, with the non-core land covering the car park and top pitches at Huish Park.

Mr Orrett’s email to us concludes: “You will have noted that I refer to Yeovil Town Holdings Limited not Yeovil Town FC as the property contracts and leases were with Yeovil Football & Athletic Club Limited and Yeovil Town Holdings Limited.

Again, to refresh your memories, Yeovil Town Holdings Limited, this is the business set up by former owners Norman Hayward and John Fry to develop land around the ground which now only has Priestnall as a director.

The other business linked to the club is Yeovil Football & Athletic Club Limited, the business which runs the football operations in effect and lists Priestnall and fellow shareholder Stuart Robins as its directors.


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