Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

Discuss all the latest news at Plainmoor with fans.

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Keeping Our Eye on the Ball

Post by gullpower » 14 May 2017, 23:00

I thought it would be easy to email candidates in the General Election but it seems that’s not the case – I suppose you can see why.

So my original idea of trying to make the Save Plainmoor campaign a local issue in the Election by email will now have to be by snail mail attack.

The names of the candidates, their agents, the party offices and their addresses for Torbay and Totnes are on the Torbay Council website - link below:
http://www.torbay.gov.uk/council/voting ... ns/ge2017/

So far I have written letters to the candidates (apart from Kevin Foster who already supports us) at their election offices and intend to fire off several more.

PLEASE JOIN ME. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WRITE A LOT – JUST ASK THEM WHERE THEY STAND ON THE ISSUE OF THE SALE OF THE LEASE OF PLAINMOOR BY THE COUNCIL TO GI.

A copy of my letter is below.

In three of his recent weekly news letters Kevin Foster has expressed support for Torquay United fans who are fighting the sale of the lease of their Plainmoor ground by Torbay Council to the new owners of the club, GI. Where do you stand?

In December 2016 Torquay United FC were bought by Gaming International, a property development company that is owned by Clarke Osborne. Mr Osborne has stated that it is his intention to acquire the freehold of the Plainmoor by purchasing it from Torbay Council who own the ground and rent it to the club. He also intends to move the club to a new ground.

Unfortunately, Gaming International have a history of taking over sports clubs (mainly speedway and greyhound tracks), moving the club to temporary facilities (often shared with another club) on the promise of building a new ground with the proceeds from the development of housing and retail outlets on the old stadium. To date, Gaming International have yet to fulfil any of their promises of providing new stadiums for the sports clubs.

Details of GI’s failings are not hard to find on the clubs main forum (TUFC Fans Forum) but for a more succinct appraisal of situation you might like to read a recent article that appeared in the Observer and on the Guardian website.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/20 ... dApp_Tweet

You will be pleased to know that the club avoided relegation by winning 2-0 on the last day of the season.

Torquay United has a long and proud history that can be traced back to 1899, with matches being played at Plainmoor since 1910. I hope you would agree that having a club of such renown and history is important for the status of the town. The club has always played its part in advertising and promoting the area as a holiday destination (in fact the change from black and white kit to gold and blue in the mid 50’s was to reflect the town’s sand and sea image) as well as bringing in revenue from away supporters that take the opportunity to enjoy an extended break as part of their away match excursion.

As fans we would argue that GI could build a new stadium for Torquay United without owning Plainmoor. Once a new stadium was built the club could vacate the ground and the Council could then sell it. There is no need for GI to own the lease of Plainmoor.

If the lease of Plainmoor is sold by Torbay Council to Gaming International there is every chance that the ground will be lost, putting the club in jeopardy.

I hope you will acknowledge the importance of this local issue and voice your support during the General Election campaign. I look forward to hearing from you.


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Post by midtable » 15 May 2017, 00:03

It is a big assumption to declare that the current Conservative MP Kevin Foster supports us.
Has to said the freehold should not be sold on July 26th? Answer no.
Has he signed the petition to stop the sale Answer no
Has he used Parliamentary privilege (he can't be sued) in Parliament to question the motives of a property developer taking over TUFC: Answer no.
Has he made some vague supportive comments about Torquay United in the run up to a general election? Yes.
If anyone can get a candidate to publicly say no the sale of the freehold they will get my vote. BUT if like Kevin Foster they won't make a commitment then it is obvious they support the Conservative mayor and GI's right to do what they want.
Oh and you don't need to send candidates letters as all of them advertise phone numbers and e-mails.


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Post by Jerry » 15 May 2017, 07:01

gullpower wrote:
14 May 2017, 23:00


JUST ASK THEM WHERE THEY STAND ON THE ISSUE OF THE SALE OF THE LEASE OF PLAINMOOR BY THE COUNCIL

As fans we would argue that GI could build a new stadium for Torquay United without owning Plainmoor. Once a new stadium was built the club could vacate the ground and the Council could then sell it. There is no need for GI to own the lease of Plainmoor.

If the lease of Plainmoor is sold by Torbay Council to Gaming International there is every chance that the ground will be lost, putting the club in jeopardy.
GI already own the lease, it is the freehold they are after.


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Post by SenorDingDong » 15 May 2017, 12:17

midtable wrote:
15 May 2017, 00:03
It is a big assumption to declare that the current Conservative MP Kevin Foster supports us.
Has to said the freehold should not be sold on July 26th? Answer no.
Has he signed the petition to stop the sale Answer no
Has he used Parliamentary privilege (he can't be sued) in Parliament to question the motives of a property developer taking over TUFC: Answer no.
Has he made some vague supportive comments about Torquay United in the run up to a general election? Yes.
If anyone can get a candidate to publicly say no the sale of the freehold they will get my vote. BUT if like Kevin Foster they won't make a commitment then it is obvious they support the Conservative mayor and GI's right to do what they want.
Oh and you don't need to send candidates letters as all of them advertise phone numbers and e-mails.
Bit harsh on him, he's frequently made public allusions to the similarities to the Coventry City situation which he experienced firsthand, he's included it in his newsletter as a point of concern frequently and has tweeted about it, including engaging with the Herald Express editor. As a political representative he's supposed to consider any views and has only limited information at hand, yet he has made it very clear that he is suspicious of the deal.

As for using parliamentary privilege, do you realise how hard it is to get speaking time at Parliament as a backbencher? Let alone about an issue entirely unrelated to any of the pressing political issues. Adrian Sanders tried for years to get time to discuss making smoke detectors mandatory for rented properties.


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Post by merse btpir » 15 May 2017, 13:41

I'm not promoting this idea; but The Association of Millwall Supporters are to run a candidate in the general election in one of the Lewisham constituencies.   They have the necessary funds.

It follows a falling out with the local Labour council and mayor after an attempt to acquire land owned by the club through a compulsory purchase order so that a redevelopment, effectively a gentrification project. could go ahead. If the scheme had gone ahead, the club might have had to leave the New Den, but considerable opposition and national publicity led to its withdrawal.

Charlton fans had considerable success with their Valley Party many years ago which helped to get them back to The Valley, but they were contesting local elections.

But note that it was the considerable opposition and national publicity that led to its withdrawal and THAT'S what we must continue to emulate down in Torbay.


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Post by samuel » 15 May 2017, 17:07

I had a chance meeting with Deborah Brewer today the Lib Dem candidate for Torbay. A cheery soul, local girl and when asked whether Plainmoor would be safe she said, 'read my election literature, yes it will be'. She can't be a mason which is a big plus for me. Are any of the decision makers on the lease/freehold of Plainmoor women.


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Post by gullpower » 15 May 2017, 22:03

Jerry wrote:
15 May 2017, 07:01
gullpower wrote:
14 May 2017, 23:00


JUST ASK THEM WHERE THEY STAND ON THE ISSUE OF THE SALE OF THE LEASE OF PLAINMOOR BY THE COUNCIL

As fans we would argue that GI could build a new stadium for Torquay United without owning Plainmoor. Once a new stadium was built the club could vacate the ground and the Council could then sell it. There is no need for GI to own the lease of Plainmoor.

If the lease of Plainmoor is sold by Torbay Council to Gaming International there is every chance that the ground will be lost, putting the club in jeopardy.
GI already own the lease, it is the freehold they are after.
I stand corrected and have edited my letter. :-/


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Post by gullpower » 15 May 2017, 22:22

midtable wrote:
15 May 2017, 00:03
Has he made some vague supportive comments about Torquay United in the run up to a general election? Yes.
He made informed and supportive comments since before the election was called.
If anyone can get a candidate to publicly say no the sale of the freehold they will get my vote.

That's what we want them all to think. Any mention of the sale of the freehold during the election will make a wider audience aware of the situation.
If anyone can get a candidate to publicly say no the sale of the freehold they will get my vote.
And mine!
Oh and you don't need to send candidates letters as all of them advertise phone numbers and e-mails.
As I said at the beginning of the thread I have found it difficult to find the email addresses of the candidates themselves. However, any contact will do the trick so by all means phone.

Do you want GI to own the freehold of Plainmoor? I don't. We have an opportunity created by the General Election to get a message about what is happening at the club out to a wider public. :scarf:


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Post by KJF » 15 May 2017, 23:40

Interesting to read the comments and thought it might be helpful to add a couple myself:

1. Any decision on Plainmoor Freehold would almost certainly involve all 36 Torbay Councillors as they can "call in" any mayoral decision on this issue so a sale would not take place on date mentioned even if Mayor agreed.
2. Most Councillors are, like me, very sceptical that any viable plan to build a new stadium will emerge and chances of them approving a sale are therefore next to nil. Many are fans of the club themselves. My advice to them would be to say no, although will seek a meeting with club after the election to see if any substance to their suggestions or reasons for wanting to buy it.
3. As one person mentions I have, sadly, seen this before at another club, Coventry City. Lots of pretty pictures, even a model made of a stadium with sliding pitch\roof (Yes seriously!!!) .Historic ground sold.....yet no business plan to underpin the new stadium and the site had not even been bought until the Council concerned stepped in.
4. Getting debates in parliament on a specific local subject not easy (Respect to my predecessor for his efforts on Smoke Detectors) although football governance an issue regularly picked up. I got the parking one by teaming up with a few MPs having similar issues.
5. It is possible a very wealthy person could come forward effectively looking to build something like Sandy Park, based on using league football as a brand to draw business on non-matchdays. Yet highly unlikely as this would depend on a wealthy owner\fans being prepared to cough the momney for it.
6. Have been commenting on this issue for some time, long before election called. Genuinely not sure if other candidates have had anything to say about it until now, but hope they take a simlar interest.
7. Finally always happy to engage with TUST and other fans on this via kevin@kevinjfoster.com

Kevin


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Post by SenorDingDong » 16 May 2017, 00:01

KJF wrote:
15 May 2017, 23:40
Interesting to read the comments and thought it might be helpful to add a couple myself:

1. Any decision on Plainmoor Freehold would almost certainly involve all 36 Torbay Councillors as they can "call in" any mayoral decision on this issue so a sale would not take place on date mentioned even if Mayor agreed.
2. Most Councillors are, like me, very sceptical that any viable plan to build a new stadium will emerge and chances of them approving a sale are therefore next to nil. Many are fans of the club themselves. My advice to them would be to say no, although will seek a meeting with club after the election to see if any substance to their suggestions or reasons for wanting to buy it.
3. As one person mentions I have, sadly, seen this before at another club, Coventry City. Lots of pretty pictures, even a model made of a stadium with sliding pitch\roof (Yes seriously!!!) .Historic ground sold.....yet no business plan to underpin the new stadium and the site had not even been bought until the Council concerned stepped in.
4. Getting debates in parliament on a specific local subject not easy (Respect to my predecessor for his efforts on Smoke Detectors) although football governance an issue regularly picked up. I got the parking one by teaming up with a few MPs having similar issues.
5. It is possible a very wealthy person could come forward effectively looking to build something like Sandy Park, based on using league football as a brand to draw business on non-matchdays. Yet highly unlikely as this would depend on a wealthy owner\fans being prepared to cough the momney for it.
6. Have been commenting on this issue for some time, long before election called. Genuinely not sure if other candidates have had anything to say about it until now, but hope they take a simlar interest.
7. Finally always happy to engage with TUST and other fans on this via kevin@kevinjfoster.com

Kevin
Many thanks for taking the time to post this Kevin, as I mentioned in my post above I appreciate the effort and time you have given our current plight and feel that you're genuinely using your influence to help the club. Keep up the good work and please do become engaged with the TUST if at all possible, once the stadium issue is headed off, GI may 'suspiciously' decide to drop the club, after failing to get what they want, and we'll need as many local stakeholders as possible to be engaged to ensure the club's survival.

As you say in point 5, in certain circumstances a new stadium would be a boon for the club and we should not forget this, it would be the road to a sustainable future but this is not that circumstance or situation in any way.


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Post by midtable » 16 May 2017, 00:17

So Kevin Foster, the local Conservative MP still avoids saying if he supports the sale of the freehold. A simple yes or no is required. The Conservative mayor is in favour of selling so why is our MP unable to say yes or no?


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Post by SenorDingDong » 16 May 2017, 00:23

midtable wrote:
16 May 2017, 00:17
So Kevin Foster, the local Conservative MP still avoids saying if he supports the sale of the freehold. A simple yes or no is required. The Conservative mayor is in favour of selling so why is our MP unable to say yes or no?
Errrr he very clearly stated in point 2 that his advice to the councillors would be to vote against the freehold sale. That is saying that he's against it. Remember the MP has no direct say in council business and can only advise as an interested stakeholder.


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Post by midtable » 16 May 2017, 01:58

"My advice to them would be to say no, although will seek a meeting with club after the election to see if any substance to their suggestions or reasons for wanting to buy it.'"

A get out clause for Kevin Foster Conservative MP on the future of whether to sell the freehold when new facts could well change his mind.
Crikey, he is clever.

So a Conservative Mayor and a Conservative MP have not said no to the selling of the freehold.


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Post by merse btpir » 16 May 2017, 09:52

KJF wrote:
15 May 2017, 23:40
1. Any decision on Plainmoor Freehold would almost certainly involve all 36 Torbay Councillors as they can "call in" any mayoral decision on this issue so a sale would not take place on date mentioned even if Mayor agreed.
Are you absolutely sure about this as a matter of stone walled FACT Kevin; because it is certainly not the widely held view?

Is it not a case of they could call it in but they are not necessarily compelled to?


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Post by MF68 » 16 May 2017, 13:34

I understand a certain number or percentage of councillors would have to vote to "call it in"
I do know through speaking to a councillor last week that the main problem that the mayor will face is the views of the constituents at any proposed site.

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