We, Dorking Wanderers FC (DWFC) have been asked by a variety of supporters, sponsors, volunteers, and media outlets to outline our position in respect to spurious information that has been mooted in the public domain recently, a large part of which was detailed in a letter sent from our landlords, Surrey County FA (SCFA), to a local political body.
By means of transparency and to ensure complete clarity, the below are all facts relating to developments to date:
Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) has received almost nothing in rental income from the football facility since its opening. This is despite SCFA being in receipt of over £500,000 alone from DWFC’s associated teams and all revenue generated from other usage.
Therefore, it would appear that MVDC has determined that a significant capital receipt (payment) is a better return on investment for local taxpayers than the current significantly under-performing site.
It is important to note that the decision to use taxpayers’ money to redevelop Meadowbank was based entirely on the premise that the site would yield an annual return to MVDC, given its funding by the taxpayer. This has not happened, and the site's financial performance has been significantly below target.
By means of background, in March of this year DWFC began discussions with MVDC with regards to the potential opportunity to purchase Meadowbank. Operating entirely with integrity and respect, DWFC and MVDC immediately informed SCFA of these discussions. For SCFA to advise that they were unaware and surprised by sales negotiations is simply untrue.
As part of those discussions with MVDC, DWFC elected to make an offer to purchase Meadowbank. From that point, and during the last 5 months, SCFA have conducted several meetings with officers of MVDC and elected local councillors. During these meetings SCFA were given the opportunity to put forward their own proposals for the site, in terms of either purchasing or presenting alternative plans.
At no point had SCFA been told by DWFC or MVDC it must leave Meadowbank should DWFC complete its purchase. To the contrary, SCFA informed both DWFC and MVDC that it must leave the facility if DWFC were to own the site.
DWFC, if successful with the purchase, are committed (and mandated by MVDC) to ensure that existing leases at the site are upheld and honored (SCFA and Soft Play).
DWFC have publicly stated that we look forward to working alongside SCFA to further enhance both community usage and success of the site.
By means of reminder, current DWFC committee members were the driving force behind the initial Meadowbank development idea as a community hub. It was DWFC committee members that constructed the list of community clubs to be granted access to the facility at a community rate and insisted upon this list and supporting terms being included in the leases.
Not withstanding the above, and regardless of who owns the Meadowbank freehold, SCFA will still retain all rights to their existing lease which critically includes the decision making around community usage and site bookings.
It should be noted that due to demand by all local youth clubs, DWFC has plans to build another all-weather playing surface at a location in the Dorking area, and already has the necessary landlord and local authority consents. This will significantly add to the community’s existing resources.
DWFC has acted honestly, fairly, and openly at all times. DWFC has had months of dialogue on the subject with all associated parties. DWFC has zero intention of excluding community users. To the contrary, it plans to increase access to all weather surfaces for community users. DWFC has remained silent on specifics to date in an attempt to keep negotiations private and confidential. This could no longer be the case after public statements of an inaccurate and destabilizing nature have been made. This shall be our last statement on the matter for the near future.