Statement from Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council – Update on Meadowbank Football Ground Facilities

Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), said: “Having received a number of enquiries concerning the potential sale of Meadowbank Football Ground Facilities, including a misleading figure being quoted, I would like to provide clarification and assurance on the situation.

“The Mole Valley District Council (MVDC)-owned Meadowbank community football facilities in Dorking opened in the summer of 2018 following a comprehensive regeneration of the site and we’re very proud of its success. The facilities consist of the football stadium – home to Dorking Wanderers Football Club (DWFC) – leased to Surrey County Football Association (SCFA)’s and used by other community sports clubs/groups, as well as soft play and café facilities leased to Churchill Catering, part of the Vertas Group.

The football stadium is not only an important community asset, but also a significant contributor towards the town centre’s economy and the profile of the district.

“DWFC has made an offer to MVDC to purchase the freehold of the Meadowbank community football facilities, including SCFA’s offices, the soft play and café. Following discussions with DWFC and SCFA a paper has been prepared for consideration by the council’s Scrutiny Committee. While the exact details of the financial offer must remain confidential to protect the interest of the council and the third parties involved, the offer that MVDC has received, and Members will discuss, is considered to comply with statutory requirements imposed on MVDC under Section 123 Local Government Act 1972 not to dispose of land for “a consideration less than the best that can reasonably be obtained” and, compared to the current position, to be in the best interests of the council’s taxpayer. 

“The potential sale of the Meadowbank community football facilities will be discussed at meetings of Mole Valley District Council’s Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet on the 15 and 29 November 2022 respectively. The transfer of the freehold from MVDC to DWFC would also require the consent of the two sporting bodies that financially contributed to the construction of the facilities, Sports England and the Football Foundation, and a condition of sale would be that DWFC would retain community use of the facility for sports.

“While transfer of the site might be a natural progression, should it be decided to proceed with the sale, a range of permissions must be obtained, financial sustainability demonstrated and not least, provision made for ongoing community use of football stadium. These are all absolute pre-requisites.

“Irrespective of the decision reached, MVDC remains committed to completing the construction of the sound barrier that surrounds the football stadium. Subject to securing planning consent for the variation to the design of the barrier and weather conditions, work is anticipated to recommence on site in early 2023.”


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