Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Anything and everything related to Barnet FC

Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby BFCST Official Rep » 14 Dec 2011, 20:02

Over the past two months the BFCST has, on separate occasions, met representatives from Barnet Council, and Tony Kleanthous, to obtain their different perspectives on the situation around Underhill. From the council, we met Pam Wharfe (Interim Director of Environment, Planning & Regeneration) and George Church (Principle Valuer - Property Services). We felt that only after holding both meetings would we be in a position to disseminate the facts in a balanced manner.

As outlined in the clubs recent statement, there are two fundamental issues at stake here: the cricket club lease and the situation with Priory Grove. What follows is a brief synposis of their respective positions on these two matters.

1. THE LEASE

Background

The current lease is with The Barnet Club Ltd (TBCL), the company that ran Barnet Cricket Club. It runs from 25th December 1982 to 24th December 2012. It covers the area immediately to the south of Underhill, including the car parking area and some of the fields.

Council’s position

Discussions have taken place for 2-3 years over the renewal of the lease for 95 years (ie. 2012-2107) on an open market value basis. (i.e. 125 years from 1982).

The Council obtained a land valuation from Saville’s Chartered Surveyors. Barnet FC considered this valuation to be unreasonable. BFC asked for a valuation instead by local company Maunder Taylor, which was carried out in July 2011. This valuation was also unacceptable to BFC.

Barnet Council indicated that the 95 year lease for the 5 acre site would be in the ballpark of the price for a small flat.

The parties failed to agree terms. In such a situation, the tenant has the right to go to arbitration at the county court. The court may set the value but only for a lease of up to 15 years. Hence a 15 year offer was made, but this was not accepted.

When the Council are leasing out a site, the general presumption is for best value. The offer of a peppercorn rent was extended to Saracens for Copthall on the back of binding assurances, namely thirty hours community usage per week. Were TBCL to offer something similar with the land, they may potentially be able to offer a peppercorn rent too.

BFC’s position

BFC deny that TBCL were offered a 95 year lease and say that they were only offered a 15 year lease at market value. This is unacceptable to BFC as it does not give the club security.
Land valuations were done first by Saville’s, then Maunder Taylor. The council were reluctant to release the latter, something BFC challenged via Freedom of Information. They have now received the valuation, which is similar to the Saville's valuation.

BFC feel unhappy that they are being asked for a market rate when Saracens have been offered a peppercorn rent on Copthall.

2. PRIORY GROVE

Background

Priory Grove runs behind the East Terrace and connects the car parking area in the land south of Underhill (the land leased to TBCL) with Westcombe Drive.

Council’s position

The lease south of Underhill is on land currently with ‘The Barnet Club Limited’ (TBCL), the cricket club company. A license from the mid-90’s provided rights of way ‘on foot only’ over Priory Grove.

In 2006, BFC put in a planning application for an extension of car parking to the south, including improving the emergency access from Priory Grove. The application was passed. However, during the process, it was highlighted that there was no legal right of vehicular access on Priory Grove.

They attempted to resolve the issue in 2006, but were unable to do so. BFC have used Priory Grove for vehicles since, though the Council have taken no enforcement action against TBCL. The Council are keen now to regularise the club’s usage of Priory Grove to tidy up the issue.

For a nominal fee of £10 per year, the council are prepared to issue the club a vehicular license for Priory Grove.

BFC’s position

BFC have used Priory Grove for vehicles for a number of years and believe they therefore have a right to continue to do so. The issue is not the level of fee but the principle and the precedent that this sets. BFC have also said that under their license, while staff would be allowed access, supporters would not be.

Any Barnet supporter with any questions, comments or concerns on this issue, or any other, is encouraged to email info@bfcsa.co.uk.


Clarification (15/12/11): BFC say their reluctance to purchase a vehicular license for Priory Grove it not about the cost of the license, but of the precedent this sets. The club feel that purchasing a license sets a precedent that means future purchasers of the Underhill site may also be required to apply for a license, which may reduce the value of the site if prospective buyers were not able to gain a license.

BFC also object to the fact that the Council are only offering a vehicular license for club staff, and not other visitors.

It is worth noting that both Monday's meeting with Tony Kleanthous and last month's meeting with Barnet Council were amicable and constructive, and the BFCST thank both parties for their time and openness.
Last edited by BFCST Official Rep on 15 Dec 2011, 12:54, edited 1 time in total.
www.bfctrust.co.uk
User avatar
BFCST Official Rep
 
Posts: 482
Joined: 14 Dec 2011, 19:45

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby letchbee94 » 14 Dec 2011, 20:20

Can you do anything to prevent us leaving Underhill??
Do you have the power?
letchbee94
 
Posts: 2891
Joined: 21 Jan 2011, 20:59

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Golf Delta » 14 Dec 2011, 20:22

What is BFCST's position on all of this?
Grammar: The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you're shit.
User avatar
Golf Delta
 
Posts: 2129
Joined: 21 Jan 2011, 18:47
Location: Welham Green

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Paul Pasqualoni » 14 Dec 2011, 20:26

Golf Delta wrote:What is BFCST's position on all of this?


Agreed, seems an odd statement to make without any refence to their position!

It's also a shame they didn't seek to clarify from the club what the next steps are in all of this.
User avatar
Paul Pasqualoni
 
Posts: 610
Joined: 31 Jan 2011, 19:53

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Stingtastic » 14 Dec 2011, 20:29

My gut feel over the above statement is; we are leaving Underhill over that??!

If we had a new / better ground to go to, fine, Underhill is not viable medium / long term. But to (I'd assume) groundshare, over the above makes to me no financial or foot sense.
Stingtastic
 
Posts: 245
Joined: 10 Apr 2011, 14:33

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Jon83 » 14 Dec 2011, 20:44

Is the trust in a position at the moment to actually make a statement regarding their position or are they only able to report on the 'facts'.

They seem to suggest two solutions to the problems - in the short term - the club needs to offer more 'community hours' and pay £10.00.
Jon83
 
Posts: 1179
Joined: 22 Jan 2011, 19:35

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby HerewardW » 14 Dec 2011, 21:00

Agreed, if they can offer the community service, I am happy to pay £10 on their behalf
HerewardW
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 22 Nov 2011, 18:26
Location: New Barnet

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Milkfloat » 14 Dec 2011, 21:04

Jon83 wrote:Is the trust in a position at the moment to actually make a statement regarding their position or are they only able to report on the 'facts'.

They seem to suggest two solutions to the problems - in the short term - the club needs to offer more 'community hours' and pay £10.00.


The club should be able to offer a bit more community work. I will gladly pay the £10 on their behalf if this is a problem! I cannot believe the club is considering leaving Underhill over this.
Milkfloat
 
Posts: 271
Joined: 23 Jan 2011, 20:35

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby ninestein » 14 Dec 2011, 21:05

I'm guessing that the counter-argument here from the club is that it already does a huge amount of community project work, so why would we need to do any more?
Barnet showing all the flair of Rupert-the-Bears trousers, but lots more style!
ninestein
 
Posts: 1444
Joined: 03 Aug 2011, 20:00

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby kingpinfid » 14 Dec 2011, 21:12

I just want to say well done to the Supporters' Trust for taking the time to research this.

I think it puts things into perspective and shows that the Council's position is not as unreasonable as TK alleges. I suggest that if TK wanted to keep Barnet FC at Underhill, then the solutions do exist.

However, the key issue should be - would staying at Underhill benefit the long term future of the club? I do not think it would and it is my opinion that TK has come to the conclusion that the Hive is a better long term prospect. Why he does not just say this I do not know!
kingpinfid
 
Posts: 1541
Joined: 25 Jan 2011, 15:16

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Milkfloat » 14 Dec 2011, 21:12

ninestein wrote:I'm guessing that the counter-argument here from the club is that it already does a huge amount of community project work, so why would we need to do any more?


Simple - to save having to cough up full market value for the lease.
Milkfloat
 
Posts: 271
Joined: 23 Jan 2011, 20:35

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Moochild_Bee » 14 Dec 2011, 21:13

ninestein wrote:I'm guessing that the counter-argument here from the club is that it already does a huge amount of community project work, so why would we need to do any more?


My thoughts exactly. The club do a HUGE amount of community work they don't have to do. It's rather sad the council have to bribe Saracens to do community work in exchange for a peppercorn rent. Will it be OK if we were to cease all the community work they do (I expect the players will be hitting children's wards in time for Christmas, best we put that on hold to save a bob or two), and then the council will give us the peppercorn rent to start it again?

Also, as repeated above, I don't want 'our' trust to give us ambiguous statements trying to get us to read between the lines. Can we have an opinion please? Or as they are new, do they have to wait to see what the majority opinion is and then take that line??
Whenever you correct someone's grammar just remember that nobody likes you.
User avatar
Moochild_Bee
 
Posts: 2761
Joined: 21 Jan 2011, 17:45

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby djhdjh » 14 Dec 2011, 21:18

Exactly - the club needs the land to operate and therefore operate those community projects and is a community asset as well as a business even aside from running those explicit community projects and therefore could argue (I don't think it's a watertight case but certainly a case) that it could be offered some help like plenty of professional football clubs are by their councils. Could we even operate 30 hours of community usage on the Cricket Club land? What would it be used for? How much would it cost? Would anyone want it?

Frankly I don't think it really matters who is responsible. What matters is what the future is for our football club. Questions (in this order) where are we going to play next season? Are supporters going to be consulted/balloted on any permanent new ground? What would TK's position be if he lost the ballot? Would the club be able to come back to Underhill if the fans were to reject a permanent new stadium elsewhere or would we be stuck in the nightmare Selhurst scenario? Are we going to the Hive?

Edit: Without wishing to sound self-important these seem to me to be the obvious questions which I hope the Trust are banging on Tony's door trying to get the answers to.
djhdjh
 
Posts: 322
Joined: 22 Jan 2011, 12:53

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby hoofer2 » 14 Dec 2011, 23:06

If the Bees Trust statement is a true representation of the status quo between TK and the Council I am truly disappointed.

I cannot deny the effort and funds TK has put in to sustaining Barnet and Underhill over the past 17 years, with the ground being
modernised with the impressive South Stand an floodlighting. However this standoff stinks of brinkmanship and petulance if
these truly are the facts. Surely it would be better to pay the 7000k per year to remain at Underhill given the significant investment
over the past few seasons in Underhill. The cynic within me cannot ignore this sudden announcement is not a coincidence with the
covenant on the Underhill freehold due to expire in 2012.

We should only move when we have a spanking new football league stadium constucted at The Hive with permission from Harrow
council to be the users of the ground and not Wealdstone. Until then it is nothing short of nonsensical to do a knee jerk move
with no "concrete" ground to play at. We are not a big enough club to lead a nomadic existence until a new stadium has been built.

One thing I do know is that should the name Barnet ever be dropped from the club I love, then maybe that will be it after 30 + years of support. And anyone who says that PEPF is only 6 miles away as the crow flies, has never tried getting to PEPF by public transport from Barnet. It is a crap journey, I should know as I used to live in Stanmore.

I assume the Bees Trust is remaining on the fence with the statement as half the fans want to stay at Underhil ad infinitum with the other half wanting to move to PEPF.
hoofer2
 
Posts: 1118
Joined: 01 Feb 2011, 13:48

Re: Barnet FC Supporters' Trust Statement

Postby Frods » 15 Dec 2011, 01:15

HerewardW wrote:Agreed, if they can offer the community service, I am happy to pay £10 on their behalf


It's pretty clearly it's not about the £10. There's something there we're not being told. Why are the council going to such lengths for £10, it hardly comes under the current public sector efficiency drive, I mean the director would've earned more in her time telling this to the trust.
User avatar
Frods
 
Posts: 281
Joined: 23 Jan 2011, 00:36

Next

Return to General Barnet Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Pingorock and 13 guests