Council receives £330,000 owed over axed Pompey training ground

PAID UP Sacha Gaydamak
PAID UP Sacha Gaydamak

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FORMER Pompey owner Sacha Gaydamak has paid off £330,000 he owed a council over the club’s axed training ground.

The money comes from a deal made in 2008 over Portsmouth Football Club’s plans to build a multimillion-pound training ground at Cherque Farm in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Gosport Borough Council won a legal challenge last year after the plans were abandoned and Mr Gaydamak’s firm was ordered to pay the council £330,000 within 18 months.

Now The News can reveal the final repayment was made on November 16.

Council leader Tory councillor Mark Hook, said: ‘I am very pleased the money has now been repaid.

‘Mr Gaydamak has been true to his word and I thank him for that.’

There have been calls for the money received from Mr Gaydamak to be ploughed into the Alver Valley Country Park project.

Over the last five years the council’s countryside team, along with volunteers, have installed 600m of pathway, planted 6,300 trees and put in safety fences, hedges and drainage ditches.

Cllr Hook added: ‘We continue to develop the Alver Valley Country Park and this money will be used to continue to provide facilities that can be used by the people of Gosport.’

Councillor Dennis Wright, the leader of the council’s opposing Labour group, said he was delighted the money had been paid back.

‘The last time I enquired about it, which was a couple of months ago, there was a couple of payments left,’ he said.

‘I’m pleased that he’s kept his side of the deal. We were assured all the way along that he would and obviously it’s to the benefit of the council tax payers of the borough.

‘There were some people saying, a long time ago now, that he wouldn’t pay it back and we’d never get it and all that sort of thing, but we were always assured that we would and I’m pleased that we have.

‘We’re obviously very disappointed that the sports training facility down at Lee-on-the-Solent didn’t go ahead.

‘But of course one can’t expect that in the financial position that the club are in now.

‘There are all sorts of areas where the council could spend it on, we’ve got a very large capital programme and we’ll have to look at our priorities.’

It was four years ago that Gosport’s council gave the green light for Pompey to build a new training ground at Lee-on-the-Solent.

But the deal meant the council had to pay back £330,000 to Persimmon Homes, the builders behind the Cherque Farm development.

Persimmon had given the cash as part of a legal agreement to pay for new leisure facilities in the area.

To make sure the council could recover its money if the training ground plans were abandoned, it signed an indemnity agreement with Mr Gaydamak’s firm Miland Development 2004.

And with the training ground proposals long buried, the council was forced to take legal action in July last year.

The original plans for the training ground would have seen 15 sports pitches, changing rooms, medical facilities and a gym at the site.

The plans would have also seen the community benefit, getting the use of two full-size pitches.