(Photo: David Purday)
Maidstone United have requested that Maidstone Borough Council ‘rethink’ their decision to reject a tabled offer placed on land owned by the local authority.
As part of their plans to regenerate the west side of their home at the Gallagher Stadium, the Stones would need to buy a two metre wide strip of land that serves as a public pathway.
Hoping to avoid drastically altering their capacity development blueprints, the club’s co-owner Terry Casey explained: “This is a big disappointment as we have been in discussion and negotiation with the council for almost a year.
“It means we will have to produce yet more drawings and calculations and it may jeopardise our application to be allowed to compete in the play-offs and ultimately to be eligible to join the Football League.
“The football club went to great lengths to offer a fair market price but Maidstone Borough Council, despite agreeing the land is surplus to requirements, insisted that they would only offer a lease agreement, as they deemed the strip to be ‘strategic’ and wanted to retain control.
“If we were to agree to a lease we would always be at the mercy of the council and it would make it impossible to raise financing for the future. We don’t feel that this is a fair and reasonable position for the club to be put into. It is deeply disappointing in terms of trust and support that the officers said they disagreed with our arguments.
“Regrettably it appears, yet again, that Maidstone Borough Council does not understand or appreciate what Maidstone United Football Club means to the town. We urge them to reconsider and are lobbying for the freehold sale option to be given due consideration.”
After three promotions in four years the Stones plan to expand their 5,000 capacity through land on the west side at a cost of over £600,000.