South Somerset District Council has insisted it has “a number of safeguards” in place to protect Huish Park from development.

The authority has issued its second statement in a week defending its purchase of the land upon which the stadium stands and the land around it in a deal valued at £2.8m back in May.

It is a pretty wordy statement which references “comments on social media” which we assumes refers to ongoing questions posed by Martin Hellier, the local businessman who has made no secret of his desire to buy the club.

The statement gives a lengthy chronology of how it came to buy the land and then refers to Yeovil Town Holdings Limited (YTHL), a company controlled by club chairman Scott Priestnall, which has the buy-back rights to what it calls the “non-core land” at Huish Park – essentially the land around the stadium.

The council said: “YTHL cannot sell the non-core land for development while the freehold is owned by SSDC. Due to commercial confidentiality, we will not be debating hypothetical situations regarding sales or disposal but a number of safeguards are in place to protect the core land, i.e. the stadium.”

Plans produced by SSDC showing the ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ land it owns at Huish Park.
Hellier’s criticism on social media has centered on the fact that he says he is willing to buy the land from the authority, but is yet to make any progress in his efforts.
In its statement the council said it would “carefully consider any proposal to buy the freehold outside of the buyback option” it has with Priestnall, as the majority shareholder of Yeovil Town Holdings Limited.
It adds: “Bearing in mind the Council’s reasons for buying the land in the first place, it is highly unlikely SSDC would sell its freehold of the stadium or remaining land unless it judged that was part of supporting the future of the club. This would therefore probably have to be linked with a transfer of ownership of the football club.
But a potential buyer would need to agree terms with the current owner and jointly approach SSDC with their proposition.
The option for the buy-back was to the owner prior to the SSDC purchase and leaseback, but would apply to any successor. SSDC was always clear that it was not going to become involved in the running of the football club via this transaction, and that the owner can manage the club as it considers appropriate.
The “potential buyer” referred to in the statement could refer to an unnamed “preferred party” with which it has an exclusivity agreement to become a majority shareholder of the club.
The saga continues……

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