WST Statement January 6th 2009
The board of the Wrexham Supporters Trust have today written to the Executive Board of Wrexham Council regarding the Racecourse planning application, submitted by Wrexham Village prior to the Christmas holidays.
The letter contains several observations regarding the development and several questions for the local authority.
A WST Spokesman stated;
Our October newsletter raised several concerns that we had regarding the proposed development at the Racecourse. The application lodged with the local authority does not address those concerns. The WST is fully supportive of the need for a development at the Racecourse. However, the development must be for the long-term benefit of the Football Club.
The local authority will be central in ensuring that this happens and, although we have had meetings with several parties, we wanted to gauge the Councils stance on this issue.
Members of the WST Board will attend the meeting of the Committee in person to address the questions to the Executive Committee."
Full text of letter below..........Planning application documents available from HERE
President: Mr Arfon Griffiths MBE
|Our Ref WST/HT/0901-001||
|6th January 2009||
LL12 9W G
T 07999 326740
E info@ wst.org.uk
Wrexham FC 2006 Limited
Wrexham Supporters Trust was formed in 2002 and history will record that The Trust was instrumental in helping to save the club from extinction. The Trust is a non-profit making organisation that aims to promote and support the concept of democratic ownership and representation of supporters within Wrexham Football Club and to promote itself and the club as a civic and community institution.
Members of the trusts aims are to establish a widely respected, stable successful football club that works in harmony with the local community.
The Trusts membership stands in the region of 750 members. This figure represents approximately one fifth of the average home gate at Wrexham and as a proportion of members to fans WST is one of the best represented trusts outside of the premier league. Wrexham Supporters Trust is an Individual and Provident Society (IPS) fully regulated by the Industrial Provident Societies Act. The WST is managed by an elected board voted by the membership. It contains a variety of expertise all of whom are supporters; WST is managed very much as a business.
The Wrexham Supporters Trust, like the many other trusts is an active member of the Supporters Direct, is government backed and funded by Football Stadia Improvement scheme, the FA, Football League and Premier League. Supporters Direct encompasses over 150 supporters trust across England, Scotland and Wales and we in Wrexham are proud to be an active part of the organisation.
Supporters Direct is a member owned organisation. Each Trust who joins must meet with the terms of the organisations membership policy, and in return, has one share worth £1, which is non transferable. In turn our own members hold a £1 share in WST.
Like most other Trusts, WST has ambitions to hold a significant level of equity in Wrexham Football Club. This aim is seen as a means of securing the future of professional football here in Wrexham (Preferably within The Football League!). At present the door is shut to WSTs ambition for equity but we are aware that owners of football clubs tend to come and go whilst supporters have a record of being associated with ‹Å“their club for life. Here in Wrexham some of our Trust members can trace their support in family terms back four or more generations!
Whilst WSTs main aim is to focus on raising funds towards equity it also has a proud record of raising funds in support of the club. In its early days members of The Trust ran the club shop and gave considerable support to the administrators. It is widely accepted that this action kept Wrexham going during the troubled times when Wrexham faced extinction. WST has over its relatively short life donated over £100,000 to Wrexham Football Club. This is a fact which is often forgotten. Just a few months a go WST made available a £15,000 interest free loan available to the club to be targeted on improving the playing staff by the new manager.
During administration The Trust were supportive of the new ownership bid by Mr Moss and Mr Dickens. Following Mr Mosss recent acquisition of 100% share of Wrexham FC The Trust have continued to support the owners intention to develop the surrounding area of the Racecourse ground. It is felt that a sensitive and well thought out development would meet the ambitions for the club and town as presented to supporters by the owners when they took control.
WST recognise the difficulties surrounding the current economic climate and the effect that must have on running a football club. The Trust also recognise that relegation from The Football League had a huge impact on the finances within the club and we, again, wish to part of the revival of our famous and much loved club. It is with this purpose in mind that WST place before Wrexham Council Executive Board our wishes and concerns surrounding any proposed development. The observations are built on years of experience and are made with best the intentions of seeing Wrexham Football Club survive in its International home, The Racecourse Ground.
Our main observations
WST feel that the development should still retain a Section 106 agreement, or similar binding arrangement which will ensure that a proportion of the development income provides for a new kop stand. And finances to provide the club with a secure footing for the future i.e. debt free with a working capital.
WST believe that the new stand should maintain a seating capacity of 5,000 which was the intention when a previous application was being considered. Should the new stand be reduced in capacity WST wish that the footprint for the initial 5,000 seat stand be maintained as per the previous plan. This would enable current/ future owners of the football club to build up to the 5,000 seats when the economic situation improves. It is essential that the previous land take by development be maintained.
WST recognise that at some stage in the future the current owner might wish to relinquish control of the football club;, this could be in just a few years; Indeed he has gone on record that this is his intention and we respect the owners views. To relinquish control at some stage is only natural and the WST urge Wrexham Council to ensure that any decisions relating to the club and ground are scrutinised in a proper and fair manner.
WST recognise that any owner involved in the development at Wrexham FC would wish to take some profit from the exercise. The Trust requests that The Wrexham County Borough Council would, via its own scrutiny, ensure that the management of funds surrounding the club enable the approved development to proceed and also ensure that the ground, stands and financial stability of the club are assured for the future.
The WST find it both difficult and sensitive to make comments on what is essentially a private enterprise. However Wrexham is a community club which touches the hearts of many both here in Wrexham and across North / Mid Wales and it would be odd if anyone questioned our good intentions for the future of ‹Å“our club and ground. WST take its position and responsibility seriously and hope that the club emerge from this difficult period in a healthy state.
WST recognise that WCBC has been of help in trying to achieve a solution regarding the future development. WST now request that WCBC ensures that our observations on the financial arrangements are also considered.
In respect of the current application lodged with the authority.
The WCBC has always stated that a 15,000 capacity International Stadium is of strategic importance, not just for the town but for North and Mid Wales.
- Is this still the WCBC position?
- If so, how will WCBC help to facilitate the 5,000 seat-stand that is required on the Kop end of the ground?
- WCBC owns ransom strips which encircle the proposed development. Would the local authority be prepared to give up its benefits in respect of these in return for contractual guarantees that the new Kop will be delivered?
Board of the Wrexham Supporters Trust