May 21 2013 Latest news:
Greg Miles, Twitter: @greg_KOS_sport
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Medway Council tells club to hand over the keys to Beechings Cross facility.
Gillingham FC has been told to hand over the keys to its training base after failing to pay a £34k utility bill.
Medway Council has said the club hasn’t paid for using the site and utility bills since 2008, meaning the club owes more than £34,000 as of April 30th this year.
They have been given until 4pm on Friday, (July 6), to hand over the keys to the Beechings Cross training ground where it has been based for ten years, otherwise they will start legal proceedings.
When contacted this morning, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally said he didn’t know about the issue.
“I don’t know anything about it,” he said. “As I’m out in Dubai I don’t know anything about it. I will have to make a call.”
The council said it was promised the bill would be paid after the club initially failed to respond to a letter last June, but it hasn’t materialised, and the club has failed to talk to the council since.
The council said in a statement: “A further letter was sent in April this year stating The Gills must pay the money by the end of that month and that it must agree to a new lease – as it has refused to do so since it ran out four years ago – by 1 June or leave by the end of that month.
“Now the council has written to Gillingham FC to say it must leave immediately and if it doesn’t hand back the keys by 4pm on Friday (6 July) legal proceedings will start.
“The letter also states that the council considers the club’s continued use and occupation of the land since the end of June to be ‘without permission’ and that ‘the council now considers Gillingham Football Club as trespassers’.”
Cllr Alan Jarrett, the Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “The money owed is not a small figure, and it is public money provided by the taxpayer. It would not be right, or fair to taxpayers or those that pay their rent, to ignore this.”
“As a local council, we work with local organisations and businesses and help them if they find it difficult to pay rent they owe the authority.
“It is a shame that it has come to this. The Gills is an important part of the community and we are keen to support our local team so we have tried as hard as we can to negotiate with the club and find a way through, but they have failed to talk to us.
“Now, as all our efforts have been ignored, we have to evict them from the ground.”
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