In the past, Councillor Adam from LBHF has been commendably engaging with CFCTruth although he feels we misrepresent the views of the council. He is also reluctant to answer straight questions even though we sometimes eventually get something out of him - sort of.
We had a very interesting exchange with him on Twitter at the weekend and we believe it reveals a little of the challenges the club faces. The discussion was centred on why LBHF are strangely reluctant to work with CFC at EC.
"@MichaelfAdam: @CFCTruth @pl4te Plus stadium at EC erodes value of new private housing. Ask Capco or Sethia!"
Yes, well we think that may well be true. But why is the council concerned with the value of private housing? And doesn't, therefore, a stadium anywhere do the same? Surely a consideration for those living around Stamford Bridge? And then..
@MichaelfAdam: @CFCTruth @pl4te Plus it's illegal to sell our housing land for non housing use. Plus won't demolish our residents' housing for a stadium!
At which point, Sean Jones, new board member piped up;
@seanjones11kbw: @MichaelfAdam @cfctruth @pl4te so is that a promise that you won't demolish housing for any non housing use or do you pick and choose?
@MichaelfAdam: @seanjones11kbw @CFCTruth @pl4te We are restricted by law on re-use of housing revenue account land.
@seanjones11kbw: @MichaelfAdam @cfctruth @pl4te but not all the land in the redevelopment package is yours. Not all of it is residential.
What surprises us is that the Cllr ignores the fact that whilst they may not demolish council housing for a stadium, they WILL demolish it to enable CapCo to put expensive private properties on it, relocating residents (who overwhelmingly do not want to move) elsewhere. The development has also been sharply criticised for not having enough social housing. It is also not certain that a stadium would require WKGG estates in any case.
This then leads us on to how the council will be able to support any number of compulsory purchases around SB in order to assist a stadium regeneration. We will leave aside the purely outward flow of money that this would require. Nor how the rules of crowd management will be gotten over, or the laws of physics. We wonder if the council will stand shoulder to shoulder with the club, as they have with CapCo in the High Court when the inevitable stream of JRs begin? Will they encourage the club to kick residents out of various homes?
You see, we simply do not know what "helping the club" means in this context. We think we should be told, certainly if the council are to be taken seriously. The club have put their case already. We would all love to think it is possible and that Roman Abramovich will happily spend half a billion outright, never seeing a return for at least 25 years (if at all), safe in the knowledge it won't all fall apart, that the laws of physics can be overcome, that residents of Oswald Stoll and various other properties will quietly slink off into the distance, that the club can afford three years in a temporary home (and that such a home can be found). And crucially that such a stadium will enable the club to meet its ongoing FFP obligations.
The councillor also appears to claim knowledge of a design to be proposed by others to the club (perhaps the much heralded Campaign55 designs?) And who is paying for those designs, since Cllr Adam has confirmed it is not the council? Perhaps it is an architect investing a bit of time on the off chance he will get the gig? We wonder whether the councillor is so supportive of a foisted, unsolicited design in his role as a member of the council or as a CFC fan determined to keep CFC at SB at any cost? A perfectly worthy position for a fan to hold but somewhat in conflict, we would suggest, with his role on the council. And we would very much like to see this design and how it will overcome all the issues we refer to in the paragraph above. Have the council put Cllr Adam in charge of the project? Have they determined that he is the best one to keep the fires of indignation among avowed SayNoers burning in order to thwart the club's ambitions elsewhere? We freely admit that this is speculation on our part (we don't want the Cllr to think we are misrepresenting him) and will allow the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.
Show us these designs, show us how they can be achieved to the satisfaction of the club's business model, demonstrate how the council will enable them and we will happily report them and offer opinion. We, like all CFC fans would like the club to be able to stay where it is.
Regardless, whilst we feel the councillor says much that means little, we do applaud him for engaging and, we would mischievously suggest, allowing the moggy to sometimes slip from the bag...
And on BPS.....
The councillor mentioned Setia in his discourse. Setia are indeed interested in the potential of a land swap with Stamford Bridge. In the summer we will know more; the owners in Malaysia are waiting to see if their man in London leading the development (an ex- Treasury Holdings man who believes fervently in the scheme at BPS) can actually deliver his very strident promises. We have seen the very effortful PR on sales recently. If he cannot deliver as his nervous bosses expect, then things may just develop at Battersea yet. We shall see.