The council must stand and deliver, says Folkestone Invicta chairman Mark Jenner
The club faced a bleak future if they did not secure a new deal at their Cheriton Road stadium, but Mr Jenner has struck a deal with the council and has vowed to improve relations between the two parties.
The council wanted to hand the Ryman League Division One South club a three-year lease, but Mr Jenner fought tooth and nail on an extended lease to meet Ryman League criteria.
Documents published by the council ahead of Wednesday’s meeting suggested that the club will have a rent free deal for the first year, rising to £3,000 (in year two), £4,000 (in year three), £5,000 (in year four) and £5,500 in the fifth year.
“I am pleased to report that at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Shepway District Council it was agreed that a five-year lease on Cheriton Road Stadium and Stripes Club be granted to the club, such lease to be completed within 42 days hereof,” said Mr Jenner, in a statement, which was published on www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk.
“This is what we as a club had asked for in order to grain security of tenure and it coincidentally benefits the council by placing future repair obligations on the club thus generating additional income for council tax payers.
“From our negotiations we gained a year rent free so that future rent becomes payable once the CVA payments have been completed in some 12 months’ time.
“The rent demanded by the council is in reality very reasonable for the facilities we occupy and especially so in comparison with some other clubs we visit so we should express our thanks to the officials at the council who have facilitated this agreement.
“Our repairing obligations will be on an “as is” basis so we will not have to make good any pre-existing defects.
“We already carry out our own maintenance anyway so this is not seen as particularly onerous and we will ensure that we have insurance to cover the bigger issues should they arise.”
The club have been without the use of their main seated stand after the roof blow off during the storm before Christmas.
Mr Jenner said: “The repairs needed to the main stand still remain the responsibility of the council who will have to decide the next course of action – their choices being either to repair the structural steelwork and fix new cladding or to undertake the demolition of the remainder.
“We do not believe that stand can be left in its present state as it still represents a potential danger should a weather pattern re-occur similar to that which we have recently experienced.
“Discussions with the council on this aspect will continue and as soon as anything is known it will be published on the club’s website.
“It is regrettable that certain elected representatives still have a poor view of the club which we are anxious to address.
“Supporters can play their part in this by lobbying their own ward councillor directly to persuade him or her that whilst there may have been problems in the past these are now behind us and that under the current management the club will bring great benefit to the town of Folkestone.”
Visit Folkestone Invicta’s website: www.folkestoneinvictafc.co.uk