The ACV Application – FAQs

If you’re sat there wondering what on earth the listing of Boundary Park as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) really means for Oldham Athletic Football Club, here is a brief summary:

What does the ACV status actually mean?

It will mean that if Brassbank Limited or Oldham Athletic (2004) Limited ever decide to sell the ground, parts of the ground, or the land that it sits upon in the next 5 years – there needs to be a notification placed with Oldham Council and Trust Oldham. If the fans or local community wishes to put together a bid through the Trust, we have up to six months to raise awareness, campaign, and raise the funds to make an offer. This offer only needs to match or (if we wish) improve the existing offer, which we would have full disclosure of.

Isn’t Boundary Park already protected?

Yes, there is an existing agreement with the landlords regarding the leasing of the ground for 2031 with the provision to extend this by another 15 years beyond that.

…then what’s the point of the ACV?

The key thing is that the present leases and agreement don’t provide a right for the community to bid for the asset should it ever come up for sale. Money talks, and whilst the agreements in place are legally solid, the fans could still be excluded from a major decision on the future of the land. Our application, if successful, ensures that any part of the ground cannot be sold without supporters knowing that was going to happen, as any decision to dispose of ownership would need to be notified first.

Will this prevent future redevelopment of Boundary Park?

No, certainly not. The ACV would only become useful in the event that Brassbank or Oldham Athletic decide to sell parts of the ground or the land that it lies upon. Improvements to the existing facilities, including possible future expansion of the North Stand, or any other parts of the ground, are not prevented by an ACV status. Furthermore, The Trust has always supported the redevelopment of Boundary Park and remains committed to work with the landlords and club to facilitate this.

Why now?

The relevant legislation bringing into force the ‘Assets of Community Value’ and ‘Community Right to Bid’ only commenced late in 2012. We were aware that other Trusts had submitted ACV applications to protect football grounds last year and wished to see those nominations run their courses through the approval and appeal processes. We considered it was an appropriate time to learn from the test cases and push ahead with the Boundary Park nomination.  We feel the time to take control of the situation was now.

Have you discussed this with the club?

The Trust has been in discussions with the landlords through the last 3 months. With our permanent seat on the board, we felt it was more important to focus on the taking the time to give the landlords the full picture with regards to our reasons for the application. They are very supportive of this move and see it as reinforcing their desire to see the football club remain on the site.  We look forward to discussing the ACV status with the club and other supporters groups in due course.

What happens next?

We await Oldham Council reviewing the ACV application and any questions this may raise. We spoke with the local MP and other key council contacts in putting the application together and we are therefore hoping the application addresses any concerns in advance. Our application was based on similar successful ones across all division of football, though as it is the first ACV application handled by Oldham Council we are very much in their hands. The ACV status will only be triggered should the landlords decide to sell the land or parts of Boundary Park. At that point the Trust would be notified and a local community bid could then be prepared to try to buy Boundary Park if it was felt appropriate. A further six month period would be provided to raise awareness, raise funds and develop a business plan. There is no certainty that any bid would be accepted as it could be in competition with other parties and may not meet any valuation for the site.

If you have any further questions about the ACV, or anything else Trust related, please let us know.