We have received the below response to our letter from South Somerset District Council.  

Dear Mr. Owen,

We have now had an opportunity to study your letter in detail, and it would seem that your points come under three subject areas, which I now address.

  1. It is not the council’s intention nor desire to play any part in the running of the football club, which is a matter for the shareholders. Our interest is to help with the club’s survival while protecting our ratepayers from loss or excessive risk. This extends to exactly how the club uses any capital receipts, its car parking plans (subject to acceptable planning policies) and the rental it agrees.
  2. We understand that short term financial survival as a cultural asset is critical, and more important (at least at present and for the immediate future) than longer term issues or schemes which can be considered once survival is assured. Any planning proposal will need to be considered through the statutory process at that time and the council can not pre-judge what the detailed proposal may be, nor how it will be determined, until it is submitted. Please also note that the proposal the council has made to the owners allows and encourages them to buy back the freehold from SSDC when funds allow.
  3. On matters where you have expressed concern whether we have taken everything into account when making the proposal, we have confidence in our property team and other officers, and believe that the right due diligence has been exercised in constructing the proposal, which has been interrogated and scrutinised prior to proceeding with any formal decision to acquire.

We understand that the 6 month moratorium period is almost at an end and under the regulations there can be no extension. The owner is then of course free to sell to whomever they choose and at whatever price they agree.

We do not believe there is a case for us to review the offer that the council has made, and it remains available if the owners wish to take it up. Ultimately, the final decision is with the owners. We believe that the council has taken the best approach possible in everyone’s interests.

I hope this answers your queries,

Best regards,
John Clark
Portfolio Holder for Economic Development including Commercial Strategy