Chairman Kelvin Thomas has responded to the statement issued by Northampton Borough Council on Wednesday evening:
He said, “As we set out in our earlier statement the final straw for us was that the Council, for reasons only known to themselves, did not seem prepared or able to assist CDNL in surrendering land adjacent to the East Stand which should never have been granted to CDNL in the first place. The Council suggest in their statement that 'no lease issues have held up the process' but if that was true why did the Council’s solicitors issue draft documentation to correct the position?
“This draft documentation was returned slightly amended by our solicitors on 18 December 2017 since when we have received no response from them. After months of us chasing, our solicitors formally wrote to the Council’s solicitors on 2 May 2018 and said that we were 'surprised and disappointed not to have heard anything from you with regard to the suggested uncontroversial amendments made to the draft Deed of Surrender.' The Council’s solicitors responded on 3 May 2018 and said 'I have raised your concerns with my client and requested some clear instructions on the outstanding points. I am hopeful of getting something within the next few days.' Needless to say, we have heard nothing further.
“The Council misleadingly says that we proposed the inclusion of further land which again is not true. Are the Council suggesting that we wanted CDNL to surrender more land, which is clearly ridiculous. We have only wanted to deal with the area of the club land wrongly included in the CDNL lease. The Council’s own statement confirms CDNL and the club control all the land through various leases, so what possible additional land could they be suggesting we requested?
“We are more than happy for the Council to make this ‘suggested’ request public and show how it relates to the relevant Deed of Surrender. If they are unable to show this to us and the public, then we feel it would be appropriate for them to withdraw that statement.
“We do agree that when David (Bower) and I originally acquired the club in 2015 we did discuss in general terms with the Council the need to make the football club more sustainable in the longer term. The Council’s position was that they wanted the Sixfields site to be the subject of an overall masterplan and we shared this vision. We have since talked publicly about the need for a masterplan, we have discussed this with the Supporters Trust and had various meetings with the Council.
“We have even produced different outline schemes, all of which acknowledge the clear need for benefits to accrue to the club, to the Council and to the people of Northampton and discussed this all with the Council. However, it has to be made very clear that these conversations have been exploratory in nature and not relevant or tied to the existing lease issue. Any suggestion of linkage by the Council is just not true and intentionally misleading.
“Frankly rather than to try and defend the indefensible we think it may be more appropriate for the Council to acknowledge that they could and should have dealt with matters more professionally. It seems to us at this point that the Council’s continual lack of activity merely proves that its reputation for complete inertia remains entirely justified.
“We have now made our position extremely clear in both our statements and we would ask and advise the Council that any information that they put in the public domain is both factual and correct, as our supporters and the people of Northampton deserve better.”