Cilldara raise 'fundamental questions' with West Northants Council in response to letter sent to Supporters' Trust
Cilldara have issued a response to a letter sent by West Northamptonshire Council raising 'fundamental questions' regarding the decision to approve the Sixfields land deal with Northampton Town Football Club.
WNC were responding to a letter written by John Morgan, legal advisor for Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust, in which he raised concerns over a lack of protection in the Heads of Terms for finishing the East Stand before the club were able to acquire any of the land at Sixfields
In the council’s reply, published by the Chron, they said: "Please be assured on this point, the completion of the stand is part of the offer forwarded by CDNL and that this does include a specification that the council is satisfied will increase financial stability for the club including a specified number of boxes, food and beverage facilities and improved provision for disabled supporters. These requirements will therefore form an important part of any contract going forward.
"But I should highlight that while this is of course important to the town and indeed the supporters, in respect of the financial offer, the Council could not take the stand into account when making the decision as set out in Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1974 and as we set out in the Cabinet Report. This is because for any Land disposal we must achieve best consideration for the taxpayer and cannot consider wider benefits."
West Northants Council approved an agreement with the football club in favour of another offer from private developer Cilldara, who have since written to WNC putting them on notice of possible legal proceedings regarding the deal.
And in a statement seen by the Chron, Cilldara have now raised further concerns over why their deal was rejected despite offering more money.
The statement reads: "Following a letter from Stuart Timmiss, Executive Director of Place, Economy and the Environment, West Northamptonshire Council, to NTFC Supporters Trust published by Northampton Chronicle & Echo on Monday 4th April 2022, Cilldara Group Holdings Ltd considers that it is necessary to comment on certain points
"Whilst it appreciates the recognition by Mr Timmiss and I quote: 'In respect of the financial offer, the council could not take the stand into account when making the decision as set out in section 123 of the Local Government Act 1974 and as we set out in the Cabinet Report. This is because for any Land disposal we must achieve best consideration for the taxpayer and cannot consider wider benefits'.
"This raises the fundamental question how an offer from County Developments (Northampton) Ltd of £2.05m for 20.90 acres equating to £98,086 per acre as opposed to Cilldara’s offer of £3m for 17.29 acres equating to £173,510 per acre can be considered 'best consideration' and meets its legal obligations.
"Mr Timmiss also states 'Both LSH and a second expert view commissioned by Cildara and shared with the Council, concluded that remediation costs could be between £10m and £12m'.
"Cilldara has not commissioned any expert view on remediation costs and categorically refutes that any such report has been shared with the council. Cilldara possesses within its group of companies the expertise in brownfield sites and project experience required."