The developer wanting to build a new stadium for Dulwich Hamlet FC and 155 flats at Champion Hill has dropped its planning appeal against the council.
A letter submitted by developer Meadow Residential LLP, to the council’s planning department on October 20, confirmed it has abandoned its appeal. The appeal (previously scheduled for December 12) was requested as Southwark had refused to approve the planning application Meadow submitted in March 2016.
The decision ties directly with a separate dispute over Hamlet’s recently-expired lease on a section of Greendale Fields, a protected area classed as Metropolitan Open Land. The council refused to renew Hamlet’s lease, which jeopardised Meadow’s plans that included relocating Hamlet’s stadium on to a section of Greendale.
Dulwich Hamlet then sought legal action to force the council to renew its lease. But on October 16, Hamlet was dealt a blow when a judge ruled that the club must pay a £150,000 “security fee” (within fourteen days) before any hearing regarding the lease dispute could go ahead. Meadow said it would not help pay the fee, and nor would it help pay the council’s legal fees, should the authority have won the case.
On Monday, a Meadow spokesman: “Whilst confident of our appeal position, we became increasingly concerned that the council were determined to block Meadow and DHFC’s application at all costs and this was confirmed when the Council refused to renew the DHFC lease on the Green Dale land.”
The News understands that the club also has no appetite to continue its fight for the Greendale lease.
Meadow said in a statement said: “[We] are now reviewing our own legal and commercial position. We do not own the club and cannot comment further on [its] future.”
On Monday, Liam Hickey, chair of Dulwich Hamlet’s football committee told the News: “We have no comment to make. We are still awaiting information regarding the issue involving the lease on Greendale, or the appeal.”
The Dulwich Hamlet Supporters Trust (DHST) also said in a statement: “DHST will continue to pursue its objective of ensuring that DHFC has a secure, long-term home in East Dulwich and that it is a sustainable, community football club. We will endeavour to provide our members and other fans with further information as and when we are able to do so.”
Southwark Council leader Peter John said: “Southwark Council has sometimes been accused of being a soft touch, but our view on this matter demonstrates we always have residents’ and, in this case, fans’ interests at heart. Southwark Council objected to Meadow’s planning application on a number of grounds, including its limited affordable housing provision. I want to reaffirm that from the start of this process and going forward, Southwark Council has never wanted to jeopardise the future of the club and we remain committed to this end.”