FS Response to BP construction compound Apr19

Fulham Society has made the following comments on the plans by Fulham Football Club to use Fielders Meadow as ancillary space during the construction

of the new riverside stand  .

 Response by the Fulham Society to
Notice under S123(2a) Local Government Act 1972
Use of Bishop’s Park as a construction compound by FFC
April 2019
In principle, the Fulham Society strongly opposes the use of any park by a private
commercial company for their own purposes. This applies especially to Bishop’s Park,
Fulham’s biggest and most popular park, which is designated as Metropolitan Open Land
and is subject to a covenant that it remains open parkland for the use of the public. This
park is well used and well loved by a wide variety of people who derive great benefit from
access to this space.

We do recognise, however, that the Football Club has received planning consent for its
new Riverside Stand and that its constrained site would not allow football to continue to be
played in its historic riverside ground for several years if it did not have access to a
construction compound in the park. We would therefore not oppose this proposal if the
following strict conditions could be met:
1. this does not set any precedent for future private uses of any kind in any of Fulham’s
Parks; and
2. the park is fully restored after a maximum period of three years; and
3. The park is provided with ring-fenced financial benefits sufficiently large to
compensate for this very significant loss of amenity which is subject to full
transparency and consultation over how the money is spent.
On the basis of the information provided, we are not yet satisfied that these conditions
are met.
1. Precedent
It is wholly unacceptable for the Council to use financial income alone to justify a fairly long
period of unavailability of part of a park. It must be clear that this proposal is unique and
does not create any sort of future precedent.

2. Full restoration
It is not clear from the consultation paper what the duration of the period of the temporary
concourse extension would be, what legal measures are in place to ensure the land is fully
restored to park users after no more than three years or what other obligations are set out
in the lease.
The lease agreement and any mitigation plans signed off by the Council, must oblige the
Club at the end of three years to have:
• Removed all structures, waste, contaminated material, whether on, under or
overhanging the park or on the adjoining riverbank;
• Replaced all topsoil, grass and original hard landscaping features, especially the steps,
York stone paving, gates and railings;
• Replaced each lost tree with three mature specimens of the same species and
maintain these for three years, replacing any that are lost in this period;
• Replaced each lost shrub with three mature specimens of the same species and
maintain these for three years, replacing any that are lost in this period;
• Paid penalty payments well above the rental sums agreed.

3. Ring-fenced financial benefits sufficiently large to compensate for loss of amenity
The amounts mentioned in the paper for rental are too low considering both the
commercial value of the land and the cost to the club of its alternative, which would be to
move from the club for the duration of the works. In addition, these rental sums total just
£642,000 which is not even sufficient to repaint the riverside railings, so this amount would
not be enough to compensate for the loss of this large section of the park for 3 years.
No information has been provided about how the rental figure was derived. The Council
must obtain independent advice from a commercial valuer before finalising the rent. In
particular, the payment of £164,000 pa for 5,637m2 represents an annual rental of just
£29/sq m. The cost also equates to £450/day, which is significantly less than the Council
charges for non-ticketed events in its parks (£885.50/day) or for “promotional activitiesfixed
space” (£1,323 plus supplementary costs). The proposed 1 rent is clearly far less
than its commercial value to the club and far less than the value derived from its use by
the public as open parkland space.
These comments about the need for full commercial value to be obtained apply equally to
the additional rent that would need to be charged for the 10m2 temporary concourse
extension (if requested), and to the penalty payments that would need to be paid for any
late hardback after the three year lease.
It is also essential that this rental income, together with the £660,000 S106 monies are ring
fenced for real improvements to Bishop’s Park and not used just for ongoing maintenance
or spent on other parks or projects. We understand that the Council does not have a
separate budget for Bishop’s Park so there is a real risk that these monies will not be
spent on Bishop’s Park improvements. Currently no mechanism is proposed to provide
transparency or tracking of this expenditure or consultation about how it is spent.
We propose that LBHF publishes reports on its Bishop’s Park webpage every 6 months
• The sums that have been paid by FFC to date;
• The sums that have been spent to date, allocated by project;
• Costed plans for expenditure in the following six months, by project; and
• Costed options for spending in the period following that.

Alternatively, these reports should be provided to the Fulham Society and the Friends of
Bishop’s Park which are independent and represent the interests of Fulham residents and
park users. We believe the Church Commissioners would also need to see these reports
as well as a condition for temporary relaxation of the covenants.
We are pleased to see that the report states that the monies will be spent on the park and
that residents will be consulted, but there is no mechanism for doing this. Public trust
requires a transparent process to demonstrate this. We do not believe that this would
impose an unreasonable burden for council officials.