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Council leader responds to Iron chairman over threat of legal action

RobWaltham

North Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Waltham has fired back at Scunthorpe United chairman Peter Swann by insisting the Lincolnshire Lakes project is ‘not dead’, adding that the football club could start their new stadium build tomorrow if they chose to use the original site owned by KMG Capital Markets.

Negotiations with KMG Capital Markets broke down earlier this year, with the club proceeding to locate a new site on nearby farm land this May.

However, Mr Swann announced last night that the club are now set to redevelop Glanford Park, claiming the council no longer wanted the club to develop on the new site despite showing initial positive signs.

Waltham has morning responded by stating the council never received a planning application for the new site.

“They (the football club) have a valid planning permission for a site on the Lincolnshire Lakes and there’s a long history attached to that,” Waltham told BBC Radio Humberside.

“I met with Peter six or seven weeks ago. The officers of the council have continued to speak to his people.

“The last we heard from Peter – there is a history about the site where there is a history where he didn’t get the deal with KMG but that is for him to deal with. He needs to negotiate private deals – that’s not for the council.

“He has got planning permission on that site and he can build tomorrow if he secures the deal for a football ground.

“He came back to the council to say I think I have got another deal now in terms of an alternative site. This is where we think we would like to locate. We said you need to bring us a formal new planning application because it’s a different site.

“When that was put before the statutory agencies, they said we’ve got some issues with this. We need to see some more formal detail but we didn’t have any more.

“It is a legal process that then has to ensue.

“Had he brought us some formal detail, he would have to put a planning application in and he hasnt.

Mr Swann had accused the Council of ‘going cold’ on him in a BBC Radio Humberside Q&A last night and announced that he was set to take legal action against North Lincolnshire Council, KMG and the LEP.

“In terms of us going cold on him, really the ball is back in Peter’s court to say actually I’m moving site and I want to put a planning application in. As far as we’re concerned, he has a valid planning application,” Waltham continued.

“The deal in the first instance was with KMG – the Lincolnshire Lake’s people. At the time, he was disgruntled because they reneged on a deal. The specifics of that I don’t know.

“My job is to keep as much taxpayer’s money as I can here. If he comes with a proposal, we’ll work with him on it. The door is firmly open.

“I’m as disappointed as he is that he is now saying he won’t go ahead with the site.

“It would have been good for the area for him to invest in a new football club. There is a plan in process that has got to be followed.”

On the threat of legal action, Councillor Waltham said: “That for me is a matter for him. I am satisfied that the council has done everything that we can do. People say these sort of things for all sorts of reasons.

“I have checked with our executive lead and he says we have not had any paperwork on that.

“His issue with the LEP is there was £1.9m attached to the northern roundabout and that northern roundabout is still happening. Instead of Scunthorpe Utd being the accountable body, the council is the accountable body.

“The council will take legal advice. I am satisfied that we have done everything we can within the law to make sure we can support a scheme.”

Written by Matt Blanchard

Part of the team since 2007, before becoming editor in 2013. Undertaken the role of match summariser during Scunthorpe United live match commentaries for BBC Radio Humberside. Seasonal contributor to football titles FourFourTwo and When Saturday Comes and a finalist at the Football Blogging Awards in 2014.

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