Burscough FC Ltd shareholders, please note that there is to be an AGM at Briars Hall, Burscough on Wednesday 22nd May starting at 6.30pm. If you have not received notification from Mr Gilchrist, please contact BISA Chairman David Hardisty, or contact BISA via the contact page on this website.
It has been some months since I wrote to the BISA members on behalf of the committee and would like to bring you all up to date with what has been happening. You are probably aware that the WLBC passed the application submitted by Chequer Properties and Torus Housing. I attended the meeting and heard the debate. Councillor Bailey from Burscough Parish Council gave an in-depth and fluent explanation as to the Parish’s objections to the scheme as did Councillor Dereli.
Those Burscough Borough Councillors who are members of the Planning Committee and therefore able to vote on this matter namely Councillor Evans and Councillor Pritchard were remarkably quiet and voted to pass this through the committee. The only local Borough Councillor to voice his objections and vote against was Councillor Pope who stated that the owner had never spent a penny on the ground since he owned it. Parish Councillor Bell turned up dressed in a Green and White Bob Hat to give his full support to Mr Gilchrists plans.
Councillor Hodson stated that the new ground had to be up and running before any alterations could be made to Victoria Park. He will be leaving the council in May. Mr Harrison, Director of Development and Regeneration later reiterated this in the local press stating that the new ground had to be to the same standard or better than Victoria Park and that all conditions laid out in the planning application had to be adhered to.
The Chairman of the Club, Mr Swift, would not commit at that time as to when the building work would commence but it later emerged from the club that it would be at the end of March and the ground will be ready for the new season. So in just over 3 months’ time there will be in place an all singing and dancing stadium as good as or better than Victoria Park. One is still left to wonder why the WLBC planning department did not ask for a full financial viability assessment of the plans as they had done for a previous application.
I received an e-mail from a local resident pointing out that he had written to Homes England in regard to this application. They have written back to him stating they are watching this development and monitoring any application for funding. Homes England is a public government body set up to generate funds to help build social housing. The e-mail stated that Torus Group had received a considerable amount of Public Money in the past for the type of development they carry out and he was concerned that due to the fact that the sale of Victoria Park had to generate sufficient funds to build a new stadium that the cost of the land could be inflated.
He pointed out that it is not the object of a public body to help build or subsidise the building of a football stadium for a limited company which Burscough FC is. It is the owner’s responsibility. Torus Group has an excellent reputation for building and managing affordable housing but with this type of development the questions raised are pertinent. I had already written to Torus Housing pointing out the history of this proposed development. I will bring this e-mail to the attention of the MP and write myself on behalf of BISA to Homes England. BISA has no objections to this type of proposed development only to the fact that it should not be built on Victoria Park to the detriment in our opinion of Burscough Football Club and the Community.
It has been brought to my attention that Mr Paul Gilchrist has resigned as company secretary of Burscough FC Ltd and Chequer Properties (Burscough) Ltd. He has been company secretary for a great number of years. In all the years of him being company secretary he has never called a shareholders meeting or written to them advising what the Directors were doing with their company or investment nor arranging an AGM despite repeatedly asked to do so.
In regard to the numerous letters I have sent to him on behalf of BISA he has only had the courtesy to reply twice. Once when I questioned the movement of a large number of shares he had purchased which he stated was none of our business, and the second when he blocked the transfer of two “A” shares to myself. All other correspondence has been ignored. All correspondence sent to him has either been hand delivered to the accountants or sent by recorded delivery.
He refused to explain how the main asset of the company namely the ground was transferred to Chequer Properties although I have a letter from the accountants verifying that our concerns had been passed onto him. The fact he has left does not negate him from his past responsibilities nor for his lack of keeping the shareholders and investors informed.
As I have stated before the state of the ground is appalling with the gates being nailed up at the end of each match and the pitch covered in weeks and dandelions which bears out the comments of Councillor Pope at the planning committee. The number of supporters has plummeted to an all-time low and one doesn’t have to look far to see why.
The new manager seems to be doing a good job despite the problems and he should be commended. The Team too has achieved a good position in the league and the standard is good despite having to play on an awful surface. It is expected they should finish in the top half of the league. We congratulate both the team and the manager.
We wish all our members, the team and the manager a Happy Easter.
A.D.Hardisty (Chairman of BISA)
Written on behalf of the committee.