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Monday, October 27, 2014

"Offer The Site To Competitive Bids From Tesco And Morrisons"

InspectorBull has been sifting through a raft of emails:

An email released to the public under a Freedom of Information request shows that then Hereford Futures boss Jonathan Bretherton told senior Council officials that the Edgar Street site could be a possible supermarket.

Bretherton, according to other emails also published under the FOI request, was deeply involved in discussions on the Edgar Street leases with Hereford Futures having agreed in 2010 to help seek development partners according to their website

However Bretherton also suggests the 'radical' solution of demolishing Edgar Street entirely and seeking 'competitive bids' from Tesco and Morrison for the site.

Bretherton made the suggestion to Strategic Asset Manager Tony Featherstone and Geoff Hughes, the Director of Places and Communities, after a meeting with Old Market developers Stanhope - who are reported to have told him the Blackfriars End site was too small and that the pitch would need to be moved to accommodate any development for them.

The 20m depth suggested would have left no room at all on the Blackfriars End for a new stand, with building work almost touching the existing pitch.

The Hereford Times has previously reported that Bretherton was one of three signatories on the Heads of Terms of the Edgar Street leases, but the Council have previously refused to release emails detailing Hereford Futures as they did not come under Freedom of Information rules.

Hereford Futures e-mails will now be even more concerning as it appears that the company and it's chief has had quite a significant involvement in past discussions about the development of Edgar Street.

Update Tuesday 1pm: 

Since the article was published, BN has been informed that the council would not consider development other than for the uses as described in the lease documents which restricts commercial development to only 5000 square foot of retail space at the Blackfriars End which was agreed following the leases to end users following the development of the cattle market site. Waitrose certainly would not have taken their site had there been a plan for a larger supermarket chain adjacent.

Bretherton's  radical change was to move the stadium towards the meadow end and create a three sided ground with the whole of the Blackfriars end being considered for commercial development.

This was rejected by the HUFC board and its consultants as it was viewed not to achieve best value for the construction of the new stands  and with a 30m depth of site it still supported commercial development and a 1200 capacity stand as set down by the previous board.

Whilst Tesco has been mentioned it is part of their portfolio to acquire sites for joint use commercial with residential apartments over, however Stanhope is a keen operator who were in discussions with HUFC upto the takeover of the club.