Update on meeting of 28 June 2017 in respect of initiatives of BWFCST and the club’s enquiry concerning the ACV
We write in further explanation of the request made by the club of the voluntary removal of the Asset of Community Value (“ACV”) approved by the Council in February 2017 over property at the Macron stadium.
We were pleased to meet with representatives of the current owners on 28/6/17. As is entirely prudent, around 2 weeks before the meeting we requested from the club an explanation of areas of discussion that they might wish to disclose with us in advance of the meeting.
The club described their reasoning for the meeting as being a general chat. We set out a variety of initiatives which have now been widely publicised in the media which included amongst other matters, an initiative to promote the excellent work of the Academy and ideas to improve the supporter experience relating to wifi and the fanzone. We also raised the subject of the issue of safe standing which the club later addressed in a statement to fans via the Bolton News.
At the meeting the issue of the ACV was discussed as a first topic. As a result of the heavy demand on Mr Anderson’s time, he was not able to remain in the meeting after the request for removal of the ACV. The remainder of the meeting was both interesting and promising as our initiatives were considered.
The ACV does not prevent football clubs in their occupation and use of land which is deemed important to the community. It does not impede such property being mortgaged and is intended to protect property from secret sales thus seeking to introduce a transparency to transactions; the listing party is afforded a period of 6 weeks in which to register their interest in any change of ownership to the ACV, and given the opportunity to match sale terms.
Our response to the request to “lift” the ACV was that we would investigate the position with Bolton Mbc and Supporters Direct and revert to the club. Whilst the club highlighted that it would be preferable for the club and the supporters’ trust to do this on a consensual basis, we pointed out that the ACV was core to the values of any supporters’ trust and we wanted to take advice.
Initial substantive contact with both the Council and Supporters’ Direct was not made until 3/7/17 despite attempts being initiated on 28/6/17. On the part of Supporters Direct we were informed that their annual conference took place at the weekend 1-2/7/17 and as such they were unable to give this matter their immediate attention.
From the discussions with Bolton Mbc and Supporters Direct, we are advised that there is no mechanism in the legislation for the voluntary “lifting” of the ACV. The idea being that the listing of an ACV is now a matter vested with the local authority.
Unfortunately in these circumstances the request made of the Supporters’ Trust is misplaced and therefor we’re not in a position to help, however we will continue to drive our initiatives for the direct benefit of the club and to support the experience of the supporter.
We have informed the club of our findings and have sought another meeting to pursue further initiatives.