Saturday 4 February 2012

Getting the picture?

As an adjunct to our recent blogs on Earl's Court and the difficulties facing H&F council over Abramovic "having a proper look at it" according to a well placed government source, we thought you might be interested in a few links that contribute to the whole picture. The first is this little story about a grandfather who is objecting to the council's plan to knock his house down.

It is an interesting read, not least because it explains the deal that the council entered into with CapCo...and usefully points out that, should the plans at EC fall through, or at least fail to include the West Ken Estates, the council will have to return ten million pounds to the developer (and lose the large wad they would get from its sale). Question marks about the whole deal are also asked in this piece from the Guardian

Finally, this page gives you an idea of how the shadow of Boris looms over Greenhalgh and his acquisitive plans (remember, along with Chelsea, Boris believes a stadium is a reasonable development to be considered for Earl's Court.) Pay particular attention to the third bullet point at the top of the page....

So you can see why H&F are not being totally open with fans about their intentions. CapCo are in serious financial difficulties and there are possibly only two players in the market with the sort of ready cash Chelsea can provide. It is a game of delay and hope (we ought to remember Boris has an election coming up too). This is the complex and pretty vicious bear pit that the club are having to fight in. Naturally, the battle is not only about the West Ken estate because even were the CapCo development to dissolve in chaos, and were Chelsea to subsequently propose a stadium, there would be battles to fight. H&F are now joined closely with Kensington and Chelsea as part of a Whitehall encouraged bi borough local government model; a real Eric Pickles baby. As such their planning departments are supposed to work even more closely as one unit (not going too well we hear). Opposition would come from local government for sure but we would then refer you back to the Mayor's planning page above....The leader of K&C council, we hear, lives right in the heart of the disputed area..

Battersea is also a very live project too. It is difficult for us to reveal too much on this project without compromising those who have provided the information but previous blogs have given some indications as to Chelsea's activity there. What excites us most is the speed with which this became a potential site so soon after the EGM; it is a fascinating series of events.

So an intriguing and genuinely exciting set of battles are being fought. Our hope is that Chelsea fans can draw together to ensure that the club can fight these battles with both eyes facing forward as opposed to having one cast behind them, wary of their own side. And although it sounds blindingly obvious to say it (and no doubt give rise to suspicion among those determined to see the club in a bad light) the club would now be in a stronger position were they to have the CPO issue resolved already. The problem for them now is that their tactics are more in the camp of wait and see as opposed to being able to force issues more aggressively. It also means that they will probably, we suspect, have to wait longer in order to make another firm offer because even the club will have realised how easy it is for fans to gather behind a conspiracy theory. So presumably the idea of housekeeping will be null and void and an offer will need to wait until something concrete is on the table - but we cannot pretend a concrete offer is a much less certain outcome anytime soon. Nothing of course will be guaranteed, even if Chelsea are putting in a planning application. A cleft stick if ever there was one.

What we think is absolutely beyond doubt is that the talk of moving "anywhere" is as absurd now as it was when Sayno first printed those leaflets. What we find amazing is that much of what we tell you here can be pieced together from information in the public domain but perhaps you have to have the right mindset to be able to accept the picture it draws? The club will rarely verify any of it because, well, they simply can't. One can imagine it is akin to the one armed man hanging from a cliff with itchy bollocks. At the time of the EGM, we felt that things were pretty obvious. So did the club presumably but they and we were wrong to think that others would see that too! However, the picture is becoming clearer and clearer and our frustration at the way in which we fans hamstrung the club grows. But hey, at least The Sun pointed out a friend of Bruce Buck bought a few shares legally....

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