Fisher’s campaign to return to our traditional home, the Surrey Docks Stadium, has reached a crucial stage as the ground and surrounding land is about to be sold off.
As Fisher members heard at our AGM in the summer, the club has been aware for some time that the land had been put up for sale by Ulster Bank, after they reclaimed it from a former owner of Fisher Athletic. The Fisher board have been working with a developer who is keen to bring Fisher home to a renewed Surrey Docks Stadium as part of a wider residential development of the land. A bid was submitted to the sale agents for the land, but we understand that as things stand the sale is likely to go ahead to an alternative bidder.
That’s bad news, but importantly the football ground is designated Metropolitan Open Land which restricts development, and a covenant exists that requires any future development to include enhanced facilities for the Fish. Reacting to the development, Fisher FC chairman Ben Westmancott stated:
“Fisher are disappointed that those behind what looks to be the winning bid have not spoken to the club. However they will be aware that a covenant exists over the ground which means that any redevelopment must include improved facilities for the football club. We are grateful for the ongoing support of local councillors and our patron, Simon Hughes MP, who like us want to see the Surrey Docks Stadium become a thriving community sports facility.
“We are expecting the preferred bidder to make contact with us soon as part of their due diligence process, and we are keen to work with them so that they can understand our requirements – and the benefits that an improved community facility can deliver to new and existing residents in the area.
“The board at Fisher are determined to deliver what our owners – our fans – want, which is for Fisher to return home as a good neighbour and a positive force in our community.”
The club have received support from local MP, and club patron, Simon Hughes. Mr Hughes told fisherfc.co.uk:
“Bringing Fisher FC back to the north of the borough is crucial for its long-term survival. The club have made great progress in encouraging youngsters in the local area to take up football through the youth teams. Having a base in the local area is critical. Redeveloping the old ground will bring benefits to the club and community.”
James Mathie from Supporters Direct told us: “For Fisher to thrive and to achieve maximum community benefit they need to be back in their spiritual home at Salter Road. Working with clubs across the UK we see that football clubs that are well run can enrich a community, giving it a source of pride, and facilities that can be enjoyed by local residents.”
The next steps for Fisher are that we will hold a board meeting in the next week to discuss these developments, and we will continue to work with Southwark Council and the community to ensure that a future for Fisher is part of any development at the Surrey Docks Stadium site.
We also plan to hold a forum for members where we can go into more detail about the situation and answer questions. In the meantime, the ongoing support of our members, fans and those sympathetic to our cause remains crucial. As a voluntary-run club we always welcome offers of professional expertise or time to help us, as well as any offers of sponsorship. If you think you can help in any way, please email us.
You can read our press release here.