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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lease Negotiations Well Under Way - Hale


In addition to the interview Jon Hale gave to Sunshine's Matt Healey (see earlier article), the Hereford chairman also wrote about the lease situation in the match programme.

'Off the field, there has been much talk over the past 12 months about the lease on Edgar Street, and it is a question I have fielded more than any other, rightly so. When Hereford FC took on the lease to the ground in March 2015, the period of tenancy was 5 years, following lengthy discussions with the landlord, Herefordshire Council.

Our application for the lease came on the back of a very difficult period for Herefordshire Council in the weeks and months that led up to the eventual liquidation of Hereford United, and we were under no illusions about how thorough the Council would be vetting us as potential tenants.

Our presentations at the time were comprehensive, backed by a credible business plan, finance and a swathe of support from fans. These factors eventually persuaded the landlord to offer a 5 year lease instead of their suggested 2.5 year lease.

18 months on, the Council have marvelled in the club’s success, and the hugely positive effect it has had on the local community, the City and the County not least for traders and the general visitor numbers on match days. Herefordshire Council leader Tony Johnson visited the ground, on a match day, and was absolutely bowled over by the fantastic vibe both outside and inside the stadium.

Since then, the club went on to win promotion, two cup competitions and went to Wembley. The Leader went, and was only too keen to express his delight at seeing 20,000 Hereford fans at the National Stadium, when I spoke with him at the Civic Reception in May.

Negotiations are well under way for a new, much longer lease on the stadium. Decisions need to be taken by the Council as to the timescale for re-developing the Blackfriars End and that is something we have no control over.

The club will benefit from Blackfriars End development to the tune of a new stand at that end of the ground, with whatever development the Council wish to have behind the stand. If our long term ambition of reaching the football league is to be realised, we will need a four sided ground.

The underlying positive is that the club’s success last season, both on and off the pitch, has given our landlord a very secure, and well placed, confidence in their tenants and that is a great progression.

We are hugely encouraged by the Council’s commitment to have a new lease signed and sealed ‘by the autumn’. Their understanding and support of the club’s long term ambitions is paramount.'