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Supporters Trust attack Mike Ashley over St James Park disgrace – Great Statement

1 year ago

A very well executed attack on Mike Ashley by NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust).

The Trust reacting after the Newcastle City Council planning committee approved a controversial development opposite St James Park.

An intrusive development that will ruin the city skyline and especially views of St James Park.

More importantly, this land was owned by Newcastle United and should have been used for the benefit of Newcastle United.

Both financially and with the potential of one day increasing the St James Park capacity.

Instead, as the excellent NUST official statement says: ‘We must reiterate that there is only one man to blame for this situation.’

That one man has of course planned it so he personally benefits from developing this land once owned by NUFC, not the football club and the fans.

Mike Ashley, an absolute disgrace, yet again.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) Statement:

Today (8th November 2019) representative of the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) attended a meeting of the Newcastle City Council planning committee as it considered an application for the development on land adjacent to St. James’ Park on Strawberry Place.

We maintained our objection as previously submitted, highlighting significant concerns over impacts on the future potential of Newcastle United, as well as impacts on our skyline with views of the iconic St. James’ Park to be lost forever.

In our submission to the Council we emphasised the international significance of St. James’ Park, and noted a comment by former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who described St. James’ Park as a sporting citadel, dominating the skyline and the heartbeat of the city.

The planning committee decided to approve the development by 7 votes to 3.

We will now consider our position going forward and will discuss our next steps at a board meeting this evening, our first meeting as a new board following a recent election process, and we will communicate our plans with our members following this meeting.

We must reiterate that there is only one man to blame for this situation.

Most football clubs are buying land around their stadium to safeguard its future, for commercial purposes or for stadium improvement works. Strawberry Place could have been used to develop a Newcastle United hotel, museum, commercial development, fan area or other commercial development for the benefit of Newcastle United while safeguarding St. James’ Park.

Instead the lease has been sold on, with one man making a multimillion pound profit. That money could, and should, at the very least, have been reinvested into Newcastle United Football Club.’

The Mag – Friday 8 November 2019:

Late on Thursday night NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) revealed that they had legally challenged Newcastle City Council on them being able to make a decision on the development next to St James Park, opposite the Gallowgate End.

The developers had made changes as recently as Monday and NUST said (see letter below) via their legal representatives, that a decision by the council’s planning department needed to be delayed until December to allow those changes to be properly looked at.

However, Newcastle City Council insisted that the decision would still be made today, claiming that the change were too minor to justify any delay.

So on Friday morning the planning committee have met, to decide whether to approve a plan that will ruin the city skyline and especially views of St James Park, as well as realistically prevent (in many people’s opinions) any future expansion of the St James Park capacity.

At the meeting, it was revealed that 1,710 objections to the scheme had been received by Newcastle City Council.

Two of those to object were MP Chi Onwurah (though technically no longer an MP now until at least the December 12 election) whose Newcastle Central constituency includes SJP and NUST, on behalf of their near ten thousand members.

Both parties spoke at this morning meeting, arguing why the scheme should not go ahead, at least with these current designs that had been proposed.

Sadly, despite the efforts of those campaigning against it, approval has been given by a vote of seven to three.

Very concerning though at the lack of preparation/understanding from at least one councillor on the planning committee…

The Mag – earlier today (Friday 8 November 2019):

A decision is set to be made today with regard to the proposed development at Strawberry Place, next to St James Park.

A development scheme that it is believed would ruin the city skyline, especially with regard to St James Park, plus at the same time prevent any realistic chance of increasing the football stadium’s in the foreseeable future.

The Newcastle City Council planning committee are scheduled to meet today (Friday 8 November 2019) but on the eve of that meeting, the council have been met by a legal challenge.

Late on Thursday (7 November 2019), NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) have made public a letter (see below) that their legal representatives have supplied to the council, explaining why legally Newcastle Council are obliged to delay a decision until December.

The NUST statement and letter mentions how as recently as Monday, the developers have again amended their plans.

Encouragingly, the NUST statement adds: ‘We have met with the developers of the scheme and believe it would be possible to secure a pragmatic compromise in relation to their plans to safeguard the future of St James Park but not in time for tomorrow’s meeting.’

Such an important decision needs to be given full and proper consideration by the council, so here’s hoping they accept that there is an essential need to put any decisions back until next month at the earliest.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) Statement – Thursday 7 November 2019:

‘Following our recent objection to the Strawberry Place planning application it is now due to be heard by the Newcastle City Council planning committee tomorrow (8th November).

Newcastle City Council planning officers have recommended the application is approved despite numerous objections including from the Trust and then MP for Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah.

We have met with the developers of the scheme and believe it would be possible to secure a pragmatic compromise in relation to their plans to safeguard the future of St. James’ Park but not in time for tomorrow’s meeting.

Earlier this week the developer again amended their plans, therefore we have written to Newcastle City Council and the planning committee stating that a decision on the application should not be made tomorrow.

A copy of our letter can be found below.

With everything else going on, it can’t be forgotten how important the issues surrounding this proposed development could be for the long-term potential of Newcastle United.


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