ALDERSHOT TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB LEASE
I’m writing on behalf of Aldershot Town Football Club Supporters Trust in response to your email of 18th June.
First, let me thank you for your reply. We’re very conscious that this issue has been dragging on for over a year now and, on behalf of the fans, we wanted to understand what the issues are that were holding up the finalisation of the long lease.
The Council was good enough to listen to our concerns (expressed via Cllr Mike Roberts) and these are set out clearly in the minute to which you referred us in your reply. We want to set out our position now regarding the lease:
- We are firmly of the opinion that the new lease should only be granted to Aldershot Town Football Club Limited and NOT to the separate regeneration company that was set up by two of the Club’s Directors. The Supporters Trust are shareholders in Aldershot Town Football Club Limited and can therefore have some influence on what the company does. We would have no such influence, and neither would the fans generally, if the lease were granted to the regeneration company;
- The reservations we expressed previously still stand. We are of course aware that the Council believes it has adequate controls over the redevelopment through the planning control process. Our overriding concern is the lack of transparency regarding the terms of the lease and the plans for the development. We want the fans and the community generally to have their voices heard before it’s too late for change.
- The new lease has not yet been signed; the present lease will run out in the not too distant future, and time is drifting by. We therefore need to understand more about the issues that are holding the process up. We believe that the terms of the lease MUST be opened to public scrutiny before they are finalised. After all, the Council is proposing to transfer long term control of a public asset to the Club, while at the same time giving the Club a major capital asset in terms of the extended lease. The terms on which they do so MUST be publicly scrutinised.
- The Council minute to which you referred clearly states that “The Council would ask the Club to improve communications on this matter with both the Trust and the supporters generally”. Please note our considerable concern that we have had NO communications whatsoever from the Club regarding the lease or the ground development following the decision of the Council. This simply is not acceptable, either to us or, I would hope, to the Council.
I must emphasise that the Supporters’ Trust is firmly committed to the long-term viability of football in Aldershot. It’s an important part of our community, of our culture and of the identity of the town.
As a gesture of our support for the Club, we have recently invested some of our reserves in buying additional shares in Aldershot Town Football Club Limited. We are also working with them to fund a project at the ground which will benefit the fans.
We will continue both to monitor the situation and to examine options which we feel will help to ensure the long-term future of football in Aldershot.
We would ask you and the Council to please keep us informed of any changes in the position regarding the granting of the extended lease and on the proposed redevelopment of the ground.
Chairman Aldershot Town Supporters Trust