Southwark town hall leaders begin bid to evict Dulwich Hamlet’s controversial landlords

Town hall chiefs last night began the first moves to seize the ground of one of the fastest-growing non-league football clubs in the country.
Developers Meadow Residential (MR), who own Dulwich Hamlet FC’s Champion Hill ground, last week threatened to boot the club out of the ground and to seize its name, nickname and badge – though it backtracked within hours.
That came days after MR had said the club faced eviction over a £121,000 rent arrears bill.
But Southwark council last night hit back, rallying behind the 125-year-old club with a threat to impose a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the land if MR do not back down.
The borouch’s ruling Labour cabinet last night approved plans to acquire the Champion Hill site – where MR had a plan for 151 homes and to move Hamlet’s pitch to the next door Greendale Playing Fields, which is Metropolitan Open Land.
The council now wants to build council homes on the same plots.
Southwark council leader Cllr Peter John said: “This decision is about delivering much-needed housing in Southwark and it is also about securing the future of Dulwich Hamlet Football Club which we all feel passionate about. The club is hugely important to the local community, with thousands coming out in support every week, and that is why the council wants to make sure that they can return to their rightful home, where they have played for the last 125 years.
“CPOs can be a long and tortuous process but we will do all we can to reach a negotiated settlement with MR.”
Hamlet director Thomas Cullen said: “We couldn’t ask for more from Southwark Council. It’s been an incredibly difficult time for the club and our fans, and to have the support of the council gives us some hope things can be resolved.
“The last few days have been very disruptive but everyone has been pulling together and everyone has been galvanised by what’s happened. We also have the backing of the whole football community.”
The decision approves the acquisition of land at the Champion Hill stadium site, Edgar Kail Way for housing delivery, and safeguards the football ground for continued use by Dulwich Hamlet Football Club. The cabinet authorised the council’s director of regeneration to enter into negotiations to purchase the site.”
Following the eviction the club is temporarily playing at competitors Tooting and Mitcham United’s ground, eight miles from Dulwich – where last night they lost on penalties to Met Police in the Velocity Cup semi-final, following a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes.
A spokesman for MR said: “We have confirmed to the club it can play the remaining five of its home games at Champion Hill. They chose not to for last night’s game. That is a matter for them. All reasonable requests for access to the ground will be recognised.”
Fans of the club will stage a rally and march in protest and MR’s stance, beginning at Goose Green, Dulwich, from 12.30pm, and walking to Champion Hill, even though the club’s next “home” Bostik League Premier Divison game, against Worthing, will be the following day at Tooting’s Imperial Fields ground.

2 thoughts on “Southwark town hall leaders begin bid to evict Dulwich Hamlet’s controversial landlords

  • 14th March 2018 at 5:40 pm

    You only have to go to the ground to see that MR are not telling the whole truth. The ground is surrounded by a fence that is fixed to wooden posts concreted into the ground. The few access points are locked. It is not currently possible to access the area for any reason, including access to the electricity sub station. Cyclists are forced to dismount or ride on the footpath. In addition to this, it seems the club has not been informed officially that it can use the ground for the forthcoming games. MR, look at what you are really doing, and be, at the very least, honest about it.

  • 15th March 2018 at 6:51 pm

    It is obvious that Meadow and the company under the previous name, have been dishonest both with Dulwich Hamlet and Southwark Borough Council.
    The fact that they have been termed “scumbags” by many, hardly seems far from the truth.


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