Application for Shay to be asset of community value

The Shay Stadium east stand.
The Shay Stadium east stand.

FC Halifax Town supporters have applied to have The Shay designated as an asset of community value in an attempt to prevent private ownership of the stadium.

If successful, the ACV application would give community groups six months to put a bid together for the stadium if it was to be up for sale.

Gavin Butler of Halifax Town Supporters’ Trust is confident in the plan.

He said: “We appreciate that the council needs to carefully consider our application but the sooner the better as there are a lot more conversations to be had in finding a way forward for the stadium. We believe that a precedent has been set around the country however with iconic stadia such as Old Trafford and Anfield two of many others that have been designated as assets of community value.

“If approved, whilst it adds extra security to The Shay, it doesn’t provide any long-term guarantees that the council won’t sell the stadium. What it hopefully will lead to though is a serious debate about the future options which is where wider consultation needs to be carried out.

“We remain consistent in our view that ownership of The Shay should remain in the hands of the council.

“Under private ownership there are no safeguards over the long-term future of both clubs.

“We do appreciate though that the current situation isn’t ideal and have long-maintained the view that the stadium should be run by a not-for-profit trust which has a long-term lease from the council.”

Calderdale Council has been considering an “unsolicited offer” for The Shay from Reactiv Media, led by Tony Abbott, since August - although discussions have been taking place for 18 months.

At present the stadium costs around £250,000 a year in upkeep for the council which faces millions of pounds imposed by central government.

Council leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said that the process of assessing the ACV application can take between four and eight weeks.

“Frankly I would expect the that it would be an asset of community value and I’m absolutely fine with that - this is about deciding what’s best for the future of the stadium.”