Statement from the Directors
Kingstonian's directors with an update on ground developments
Kingstonian's directors are providing supporters with a written update on developments concerning options under consideration for a new ground for our Club. This is focused on what has happened since the supporters' Q&A session held following our home match on 29th August.
As you probably know, Kingstonian have been in discussion with Kingston Council about whether the local authority could offer / highlight any potential sites for a ground. This included a meeting in October with Cllr. Andreas Kirsch, leader of Kingston Council and Cllr. Noel Hadjimichael (who holds the council’s property and business portfolio).
Initially Lovelace Playing Fields had been identified by a senior councillor as an option. However, the local authority have now confirmed that further investigation had shown that this was not feasible, due (amongst other things) to planning restrictions. At the meeting Cllr. Kirsch agreed that Kingston Council would collaborate with the Club to identify potential sites within the borough. He said the project that Kingstonian have in mind was entirely in line with the Borough’s leisure strategy and was welcomed by the local authority. They also apologised to the Club for apparently misleading us in the availability of the Lovelace site.
For our future long-term survival, we need more than just a ground – we need those secondary income streams from catering, a bar and the hiring out of the facility in order for it to work. Without that, then the Club would have to continue to rely on the benevolence of the directors, sponsors and supporters to make financial ends meet - and that cannot be healthy for our long-term future.
There are currently three potential options are that are being explored concurrently. These are as follows:
• The Club have had an exploratory meeting with a higher education institution about a potential partnership. The meeting appeared to be positive, and their staff agreed to arrange a further meeting with us, at which senior management of the institution would be present. A date for this meeting has yet to be confirmed.
• The Club has also had a meeting facilitated by a senior council officer with a representative from a local sports facility. The Club have therefore reached out to the local authority to see if there is a realistic chance of putting floodlights on the site and building a 3G pitch and small stand on it. There is a potentially very interesting opportunity here that could entail a partnership with a well-respected local community organisation.
• Finally, the Club is investigating the possibility of the development of an existing sports venue. The Club have therefore also asked the council about the potential availability and suitability of this as an option.
Cllr. Kirsch has written to the Club and responded by welcoming the apparent willingness of the institution to consider a partnership with the K’s. He has also indicated a willingness for the local authority to engage with them to help the Club progress the matter.
Cllr. Kirsch has also undertaken to look at the other two sites and respond as soon as possible, to discuss whether there is a realistic chance of developing either of them.
A further meeting has been arranged with Cllr. Kirsch, Cllr. Hadjimichael and RBK officers for February and a further update will be provided after this meeting.