EXCLUSIVE: Sadiq Khan and Southwark chief ask controversial landlords to sell Dulwich Hamlet FC ground

London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Southwark’s leader have asked the landlords of beleaguered Dulwich Hamlet FC to sell up the club’s ground.
Meadow Residential, owners of the Bostik Premier League side’s Champion Hill ground last night told Hamlet to leave.
The development company wanted to build 151 flats on the site and move Gavin Rose’s side’s pitch to next door Greendale Playing Fields – but the scheme was rejected by Southwark’s planning committee in November.
Now Khan and Southwark supremo Cllr Peter John have asked the firm to sell to one of the commercial companies trying to buy the site – including former England and Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand, a childhood hero of manager Rose.
Cllr John said: “We know that the current owners have turned down a previous offer to buy the club, and that is why I have written to them with the Mayor of London today, asking them once again to reconsider their ongoing involvement in the site and allow the council to buy the site at market value, securing the future of this valued football club.
“Southwark council is bold in its plans to build thousands of new council homes, and we are constantly on the look out for potential sites for new homes. Part of the Champion Hill site offers us one such opportunity. But we know that communities are more than just homes. The things that bring and keep us together are as important as bricks and mortar, which is why Southwark has been so vocal in its support for Dulwich Hamlet Football Club – a great and much-loved community asset. This report demonstrates our commitment to community, both in terms of providing much needed new homes, and in preserving the stadium for the club.”
The letter to Meadow Residential founder and managing partner, New York-based Jeffery Kaplan: “we urge you to reconsider Meadow’s ongoing involvement in the site. We are aware of a number of interested parties who have approached Meadow with a view to buying out its interest in the site. Alternatively, Southwark Council is keen to safeguard the future of DHFC at the site and would be happy to consider meet with Meadow to negotiate to acquire the site itself at market value. Both the GLA and the council would welcome the opportunity to secure public
ownership of the football ground to achieve its goal of protecting this valued community asset, allowing Meadow to step away from the project with the knowledge that they have successfully facilitated the safeguarding of the club’s future and the delivery of new social housing council homes.
“Since Meadow’s involvement in Champion Hill, London SE22, began in 2014 there has been a history of failed attempts to push through wholly unsatisfactory redevelopment proposals, which have fallen well short of the adopted planning policies and vision for the site, have resulted in
unnecessary legal costs on all sides, and have all the while been extremely damaging to Dulwich Hamlet Football Club (DHFC), the occupiers of the ground – a popular, well supported club that is
a key focal point for the local community.
“It is apparent that the football club’s future at the stadium is now in danger and it has become clear that there is virtually no prospect of an acceptable scheme coming forward while Meadow remain in control of the site.
“Both the Greater London Authority and Southwark Council are keen to move on from the stalemate that has been reached, which is in no one’s best interest. The present situation is threatening the very existence of DHFC; it does nothing to secure the delivery of the vision for
the site of a retained and improved stadium for the football club alongside the delivery of new homes, including affordable homes and it is damaging to Meadow itself and in particular its reputation for successfully delivering residential development in London.
“We look forward to your urgent response.”

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