Dulwich Hamlet is returning to its Champion Hill stadium after reaching an agreement with developer Meadow Residential.
In a statement sent to the News this evening (Tuesday, October 23), the club confirmed it would be moving back to the stadium after an agreement was reached with the help of MPs Helen Hayes and Harriet Harman.
It is expected that the ground will need 4-6 weeks’ work to prepare, and the date of the first new game played at home will be announced once upcoming fixtures are confirmed.
Supporters’ Trust co-chair, Duncan Chapman, said: “The club and the trust have been working as one on this and are both delighted that Dulwich Hamlet will be coming home to where, over many years, it has grown to become such an important part of our local community.”
The final agreement was reached yesterday (Monday, October 22) at a meeting chaired by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, and marks the end of a negotiating deadlock between DHFC, Southwark Council and Meadow Residential.
The club had been ‘evicted’ from its ground after 125 years of playing history by Meadow over alleged debts, which led to high-profile support from local MPs, national politicians and footballers – and a debate in parliament.
Just last week, the News reported that Southwark Council had renewed its call on Meadow to break the stalemate by confirming it would take a possible compulsory purchase order off the table to help move things on.
Dulwich Hamlet has now spent eight months away from its Champion Hill ground. In that time, it achieved promotion at the end of last season to the Vanarama National League South while playing at a temporary home at Tooting and Mitcham FC’s Imperial Fields ground.
Club Director Ben Clasper stated “We’d like to thank Tracey Crouch and our local MPs Helen Hayes and Harriet Harman for facilitating and attending the meeting which led to this positive outcome.”
Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and Dulwich Hamlet Supporters’ Trust announce the club’s return to Champion Hill
— Dulwich Hamlet FC (@DulwichHamletFC) October 23, 2018
Dulwich Hamlet Football Club, Southwark Council and Meadow Partners’ joint statement in full:
DHFC has approached Southwark Council to ask for support to secure the long term financial security of the club and facilitate its return to Champion Hill.
DHFC has requested a new lease from the council on the AstroTurf pitch.
This new lease, to be granted by the Council, would be coterminous with an 18-month lease, to be granted to DHFC by Meadow, on the Champion Hill site. Both leases include a one year rolling extension.
The new lease of Greendale would allow DHFC to use the AstroTurf pitch for all its sporting requirements including any match day use and such other community and sporting uses as DHFC may undertake from time to time.
DHFC has agreed to meet the Council’s aspiration for investment into the improved sporting facilities on that site for the benefit of both the club and the wider community.
Meadow has agreed to support the club’s return to Champion Hill on this basis.
In recognition of this, the Council has agreed not to progress activity on a compulsory purchase order in relation to the Champion Hill site for the duration of DHFC’s lease at Champion Hill, so long as it is on fair and reasonable terms, including allowing the club to retain match day income, bar-takings and catering proceeds.”