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Planning application submitted for new DHFC stadium

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Article in The Independent today about the planning appeal and the background to it. Meadow Residential/Partners don't come out of it looking good...

"One of the country's most popular non-league clubs is at risk as the owners of its ground try to force through a controversial redevelopment. Southwark Council are trying to stop them and even senior club figures sympathise."


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Very pleased to see in the Independent article that Peter John, the Leader of Southwark Council, says that: ?We are never going to let the club fail?. Whatever difficulties the club faces right now and in the future, that is very reassuring. The club, founded in 1893, is older than most of East Dulwich itself. It would appear that Southwark recognises Dulwich Hamlet?s current contribution to the local community and its historical significance.
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Absolutely and I think any plans for a supporter-run club (which I'm in favour of) have to involve a major role for the local authority, in terms of both funding and enabling genuine long-term community involvement in the club. It's a model that works well across Europe, but alas in this country we see all clubs, big or small, as private businesses that stand or fall according to 'normal market principles'.
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Never lose sight of one fact. It is in the original deeds (you can find them online), from when the land was sold off by King's College that, if the sports ground ceases to be a going concern then it defacto reverts to council ownership. The property developers over the years have deliberately run it down financially to try and leverage local support for their self interested view of the best layout. They will not shut it down however as the council would have every right to repossess it from them. This might be the best solution!

Personally I would rather see them cut their losses, forget the housing and run the site long term for some profit. Get in a David Lloyd who will pay them a handsome rent and remove most of their overhead, let them extend the facilities out over the carpark if they want. Replace the grass with 4G and rent out the pitch 30-40 hours a week rather than just 3. Let the council refurb and run the astroturf so all the local teams and youth groups can use it again plus the new school if they want to rent it.

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From the Mail Online this morning.


"Dulwich Hamlet face bankruptcy after a court gave the south London club 14 days to find ?150,000 to continue their fight to build a new stadium.

One of the best-supported clubs in non-League football and known for developing players, Dulwich are caught in the middle of a row between Southwark Council and Meadow Residential, the firm which wants to build housing on the site of the club's current ground at Champion Hill.

Monday's court ruling concerns Dulwich's request to renew their lease on Green Dale, some adjoining land which includes an artificial pitch.

This land is crucial to the Dulwich Hamlet/Meadow redevelopment plan as it is where the club's new 4,000-capacity ground will be built - by Meadow - before the Hamlet are handed over to their fans, free of debt.

Unhappy with Meadow's plans for the wider site, worth at least ?80million, Southwark Council is blocking Dulwich's request to renew the lease on Green Dale, which the local authority owns.

With the club losing more than ?100,000 a year, the council has sought and been granted 'security of costs', effectively a deposit on any costs the council would be owed by Dulwich if the club lose the lease case when it goes to court in December.

A defeat then would cost Dulwich more like ?450,000 but the club cannot afford the ?150,000 security of costs bill and are once again left to rely on Meadow's stomach for the battle with the council.

In a statement released to Press Association Sport, a spokesperson for Meadow said: 'For over three years Meadow has provided significant financial support to Dulwich Hamlet while pushing forward a development project to give Dulwich Hamlet a new stadium and a sustainable long-term future, under fan ownership.

'It is sad that the council has chosen to undermine Dulwich Hamlet with legal action to take away the land that is integral to the stadium project.

'We are disappointed that the council has shown itself unwilling to support the club and its future, in the way Meadow has.'

Dulwich have lost play-offs to reach the Vanarama National League South, English football's sixth tier, in each of the last two seasons and are currently second in the Bostik Premier, formerly known as the Isthmian League.

But last weekend's game against Needham Market attracted nearly 2,500 fans, a crowd that most clubs in the National League, and some in Sky Bet League Two, would be delighted with.

This popularity is based on the club's proximity to central London, which gives them a large potential fanbase, access to lots of local talent and a media profile out of proportion with their league status.

But as neighbours Charlton, Millwall, Wimbledon and other non-League clubs have discovered in recent years, a London address also brings challenges due to property values in the capital and those challenges are only growing for Dulwich Hamlet."

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Lots of spin from the developers here. A couple of initial observations:

1. "With the club losing more than ?100,000 a year..." Show us the books! Something Meadow have refused to do.

2. "It is sad that the council has chosen to undermine Dulwich Hamlet with legal action to take away the land that is integral to the stadium project." They're not 'taking away the land'. They are taking up their right to what they own, the lease having expired early last year. The continuing mismanagement of the site is a key reason for LBS wishing to refuse a new lease.

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... 3. Notice that when there's potentially something to lose, it's DHFC Ltd who are the party concerned and are put in the firing line. Why not Greendale Property Co Ltd? Or Healey Development Solutions Ltd? Meadow clearly do not have any interest in defending the club.
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A more measured article in The Independent:


"... Southwark have spent an estimated ?450,000 on this legal process and on Monday a hearing at the Central London County Court decided that Dulwich Hamlet must pay ?150,000 within the next 14 days if they are to proceed with the process. Dulwich Hamlet do not have money and Meadow have repeatedly insisted that they are not liable for it either. This means that at the end of October the lease for Green Dale will revert to the council.

This will make Meadow?s ?80million development plan almost impossible, although their planning appeal is still due to be heard by the planning inspector on 12 December. But with little prospect of success, Meadow now say that they are ?reviewing their options? about what to do next.

Meadow own the Champion Hill ground, but not the club itself, but say that only through their development plan can the club survive. They say the council is forcing the club to bankruptcy by blocking their development plans. This view is disputed at Dulwich Hamlet, who point to their attendances as proof that the club could survive by itself.

?Meadow are disappointed at the Council?s actions,? a Meadow spokesperson said. ?We are reviewing the planning options but hope that the Council will see sense and think again on the club?s lease.? While Meadow blame the Council for ?undermining? Dulwich Hamlet, council leader Peter John insisted today that he has the club?s long-term interests at heart.

?Greed of property developer is unnecessarily threatening Dulwich Hamlet,? he tweeted. ?Southwark is and always will be on the side of the club.? "

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This is clear scaremongering from Meadow, a last roll of the dice as the choppers circle the embassy. They've fucked it and they know it.

Their planning appeal is dead and they know it. Last week we lost 150K a year, this week its 100K, it's almost as if they're making it up?!

The Club's future is not in jeopardy, it's their development that's over.

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Given Meadow's complete lack of financial transparency, any more money going into their coffers might just disappear from the club altogether, so here's an only-half-in-jest suggestion for fans on Saturday and subsequently ? pay all gate money into buckets/boxes earmarked specifically for the footballing side of the business and not for Meadow / Healey via the turnstiles. Would fans be let in?
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I asked DHST earlier in the year if they had seen financial information on the club to substantiate the claims that (a) the club is not viable in current form and (b) it will be viable with the new stadium. They said Meadow's financial officers had given them "access to financial information which is vital to us to be able to formulate a business plan for the new ground".

It would be good to see a detailed income statement, particularly splitting out transactions with related parties.

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mikeb Wrote:


> I asked DHST earlier in the year if they had seen

> financial information on the club to substantiate

> the claims that (a) the club is not viable in

> current form and (b) it will be viable with the

> new stadium. They said Meadow's financial

> officers had given them "access to financial

> information which is vital to us to be able to

> formulate a business plan for the new ground".


> It would be good to see a detailed income

> statement, particularly splitting out transactions

> with related parties.

Given that the chairman of the football committee, Liam Hickey, said the following on the DHFC fan forum today, I'd suggest we'll never get anywhere near financial transparency from Meadow:

"Remember it was in Meadows [sic] interests to show the club makes losses to justify a new stadium."

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Excellent news. Perhaps the future of the site can now gravitate away from property developers and back towards a long term sporting facility as was always intended.

I am not a fan of this Labour run Southwark administration or many of it's decisions over the last few years. On this issue though I have to admit that they have been consistent and strong. Congratulations to them.

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So ,reading this from the SLN

"Meadow last week released a statement concerning the October 16 ruling, saying: ?Southwark Council?s successful application for security for costs means that on top of the ?150,000 DHFC is now being expected to pay it will also face an eventual legal bill of over ?450,000 if DHFC fights and loses the case at the trial in November.?

do we understand that Meadow(in DHFC's name ) won't be appealing against Southwark's decision not to renew the lease ?

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