Council ends Sussex football club's lease following safety concerns

A Sussex football club's lease will be ended because of health and safety breaches and poor maintenance, a local council has announced.

Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 1:12 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:30 am
Chichester City FC first team manager Miles Rutherford. Picture: Steve Reid

Chichester City FC first team manager Miles Rutherford said the club has been poorly run in the past and needs to engage better with the community.

The team’s ground at Oaklands Park is owned by Chichester District Council.

While the lease ends in June, it has been agreed that the club can still play there going forward.

A council spokesman said: “We have raised concerns over a lengthy period of time regarding the club’s failure to meet the terms of its lease.

“These include poor maintenance of the site, breaches of health and safety matters and allowing other organisations to sub-let space without permission.

“We have tried again and again to talk to the club to resolve these issues because we want the club to be successful and for it to play an important role within the community.

“However, the football club has struggled to respond to all of our concerns. Unfortunately, we have now been left with no choice but to end the lease.

“What is important to stress is we are putting arrangements in place to enable the club to continue to use Oaklands Park.

“We want the football club to be a success and we want to work with the club to look at how we can best support them going forward beyond the current season.”

Mr Rutherford admitted what the council said was ‘quite a true statement’ and called for Chichester FC to return to being a community club.

He added: “Unfortunately the club has been run poorly. There is no doubt about it.

“There is now work in progress to try and put that correct.

“We are trying to get the whole community to work as one to get the club back to where it should be.

“We would really appreciate anyone that would like to get involved in helping the club.”

Mr Rutherford said the club needs the support of the council too: “The council are absolutely massive to us.”

For more Chichester City FC news, click here.