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Lowestoft Announce They Are Still Ground`s Legal Owners

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The Directors of Bostik League Premier Lowestoft Town Football Club Ltd have confirmed that they are still the legal owners of the Crown Meadow football ground.

This statement has been announced to dispel rumours that have been spreading in recent weeks and there are no immediate plans to sell.

The Social club building is subject of a loan for which there is a legal charge against it for security purposes.

The loan was initially taken out in 2007 to enable the club to buy back the Social Club building from Peter Gamble so that the club owned the ground and all buildings on the site.

This loan was increased in 2014 to offset the cost of ground improvements necessary to obtain the ‘B’ grading required to compete at Step 2 level – The National League North/South.

The loan was kindly given by Badger Building and is at a very competitive rate.

The monthly loan payments have always been honoured until recently when with the full agreement of Badger Building payments were suspended whilst we try and put our house in order.

A recent informal valuation of the ground put its value in the region of £2m. Unfortunately, club assets are not the same as cash in the bank!

It is thought that the recent rumours over ownership of the ground have been fuelled by two recent developments, both of which would have entailed selling the ground.

Firstly, the club received an astonishing offer of a 10-acre site in Lowestoft completely free which would enable the club to construct a fit for purpose ground to National League standard including training pitches, classrooms etc for our Scholarship programme and the club`s academy.

This would enable the club to greatly increase its community activities. Unfortunately, there was one condition that was set in stone. That condition was that Lowestoft Town and Kirkley & Pakefield would unite to form one club.

This condition did not appeal to the Board of Directors but Lowestoft felt duty bound to open exploratory negotiations with Kirkley & Pakefield FC.

A meeting was arranged, and it was no surprise that Kirkley & Pakefield FC were equally unenthusiastic as Lowestoft and the subject dropped.

The second development also involved moving to a new ground. Back in 2009 we were making a sustained bid for promotion to the Football Conference. The club therefore looked at the grading requirements needed for promotion to both Steps 1 and 2.

It became apparent that although Lowestoft could possible manage the B grade for Step 2, it was unlikely that it could reach grade A to progress any further.

The club therefore submitted a Notice of Interest to Waveney District Council on 6th November 2009 should a suitable site for a new stadium become available.

Waveney District Council have long mooted the idea of developing a multi sports complex including a new ground for Lowestoft Town FC.

The club have recently been informed of a provisional site which Waveney District Council, together with Lowestoft Town Council and Sentinel Leisure, have identified and are keen to develop. There have been similar schemes in the past which never reached fruition.

Lowestoft Town Football Club have had the Crown Meadow as its home continuously since 1894 but as with any ground of this age the cost of maintenance is ever increasing with buildings deteriorating through age.

So, although the desire is to stay here, the Directors would be failing in their duty to secure the long-term future of the club if they failed to explore other opportunities as they arise.

Sean Galea-Pace

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