Next Game: Preseason Friendly - Newport County At Edgar Street on Saturday 21th July at 3.00pm

Monday, June 05, 2017

Tough Times At Wrexham

Tough times at Wrexham where a 15 year fight for the famous old Racecourse Ground is reaching a climax. Macdonalds are in talks with the landowners with a view to building a drive through at the back of the now derelict Kop.

Once this is built it will probably ensure that there will never be a new stand on that site due to access issues. Wrexham fans were promised that all profits from the development would go back into the football club and that a new stand would be built.

However the local authority failed to ensure that those promises were captured in a binding legal agreement and to date not a penny has gone back into the football club.

Wrexham fans have started a petition calling on the Welsh Assembly to call in the whole thing and investigate a way forward for the site.

Any support we can get for this would be hugely appreciated.

There is also an article from the last Dismal Jimmy fanzine which goes into a bit more detail.
Wrexham Council Screw Up - We Pay the Price

The main reason we have done another Jimmy is that the betrayal of Wrexham AFC has now entered another phase.

Back in 2011 the club and the town was shafted by the actions of the WCBC planning committee who approved planning permission for the those wretched flats behind the Kop. They could have ensured that the development benefitted the town and club by tying the permission to certain obligations on the developers.

The Council could have insisted on a binding “Section 106” agreement which would have ensured that a new Kop would have been built as part of the development. Remember when Asda built the new Alexandra school when they moved to their new site ?

They did not do so. Under the guidance of the Chief Planning Officer at the time, Lawrence Istead, they accepted a watered down version of a Section 106 agreement, called a Unilateral Undertaking. This is a form of 106 but not as binding on the developers. The WST sought legal opinion on this nonsense and passed the advice on to the Council. They ignored it.

Why would they do that ? Well there are various theories floating around. The most charitable being that the Council was desperate for student flats to support the growing Glyndwr University.

Our belief is that by waiving a Section 106 agreement the Council effectually gave the developers a cheque for over a million pounds. Perhaps in the deluded belief that this would be invested in the football club.

After all the UU stated as much.:

The developer hereby undertakes to apply any net profits arising directly from the completion of the development completed in accordance with the planning consents issued pursuant to the Applications to the provision of the Spectator Stand on the land shown edged yellow with a minimum capacity to seat 4650 spectators.

On the night that permission was granted the Committee seemed to be a bit dubious about this until Mr Istead took the stage and reassured them that this was a good deal and as much as we could expect.

Permission granted.

Spin forward a little while and the BBC Week in Week out documentary interviews then Council Leader Aled Roberts about the UU. He echoes the words of Mr Istead and states that in view of conflicting opinion they took the best advice.

“The undertaking was the best way forward”.

We will have to take Councillor Roberts word on this one. The WST published the advice that they paid for and a copy of it is in the back of this rag. However the advice given to the Council can not be viewed as it is deemed to be confidential. There is another well written and measured article on this subject elsewhere in the Jimmy. ( Check out “lying corrupt Lonsdales cover up their own Feck ups” )

The BBCs planning expert was less enthusiastic than Councillor Roberts ;

“Worthless” was his considered opinion.

Anyway, so here we are. Permission granted, flats built and fully let.

But here's the thing. The ground has now been sold to Glyndwr University for nearly £2m. Jimmy believes that Macdonalds have paid ,or are paying, a sum close to £6m for the land behind the Kop and those wretched flats are up for sale for £13m.

Cast your mind back to the original application. There were 3 phases to the development. Phase 1 was the twin towers and this has already been completed. Phase 2 promised more student flats wraping around behind the Kop and on to Dickens old land. Phase 3 was the new Kop stand, much of which was to be paid out of the proceeds of Phase 1 and Phase 2.

So to summarise:

Phase 1 - complete and up for sale for £13m

Phase 2 - not complete and sold to Macdonalds for £6m

Phase 3 - not complete and sold to Glyndwr for £1.9m

£21m from a £5m investment but not a penny profit to put into the new stand and all courtesy of our supine local authority.

Theres a lot of money changing hands for assets that used to be owned by Wrexham AFC.

So we feel that Wrexham fans are entitled to ask where our share is. The Council, who have managed the matter on our behalf, are almost mute on the subject.

Here is their response to a Freedom of Interest request.

“ The requirement for the reinvestment of profits from the development under section 6.2 states that net profits arising directly from the ‘completion of the development’. The development has not yet been completed in accordance with all of the planning consents and therefore it is not possible to determine whether any net profits have arisen.”

So thats all right then.

The Local Authority are an easy target for any lazy malcontent. Its always their fault isnt it ?

Well of course it isnt. There are a lot of people there who work hard and try and do their best for the people of the Town.

But issues like this one do very little to inspire confidence. Why did the Council follow advice which was not in the interest of the Town ? Why are they intent on covering up this advice ? Where does the responsibility for delivering our new Kop lie ? Who is to be held accountable for this decision ?

At a time when the Council are closing care centres and Youth clubs voters may wonder why our representatives are waiving benefits worth millions to rich people from Cheshire.


WST Legal Advice given to the Council ahead of planning being granted.