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Hands off Heaton Park

by timpickstone on February 9, 2013

 

Sign the online petition NOW!

 

 

saveheatonparkcolManchester City Council have announced that work is to start this weekend on the access road for the commercial soccer centre in the St Margaret’s, Prestwich side of Heaton Park.

This is despite that the Planning Permission for the Soccer Centre runs out on Monday 11 February 2013.

GOALS Soccer Centres secured planning permission for a massive commercial soccer centre, with artificial floodlit pitches a carpark and a clubhouse desipte massive public opposition three years ago.

For two years and 364 days they have done nothing. Goals released the following statement to the Stock Market on 10 January 2013:

In order to focus on strong cash generation and enhance return on capital from recently opened centres, the Board has decided to postpone further new site openings. This strategic move will enable the Board to meet the key objective of using strong cash flow to further reduce net bank debt which has been reduced to £50m from £54m at 30 June 2012. The Group’s net bank loans are £48.8m compared to £52.6m at 30 June 2012..

Goals had made a similar statement on 10 January 2012 (full text of both below).

So if GOALS aren’t opening soccer centres, why is Manchester City Council building an access road?

Why did it tell (a few) local people at 4.30pm on a Friday afternoon that work is to happen over the weekend – literally the day before GOALS planning permission runs out?

Planning permission rules are that if work has not started within three years, then the developer has to apply for an extension (which GOALS hasn’t done), OR the planning application process has to be undertaken again. In both cases local people have an opportunity to be consulted through a democratic process.

This is a disgrace. If a company cannot afford to build a soccer centre during the period of a planning permission, then it must apply again.

Sending in the diggers this weekend seems to be trying to bypass this democrat process. They should be ashamed of themselves .

The Save Heaton Park group is already thinking about the next step of our campaign to save this beautiful park. In the meantime please tell your friends and neighbours.

Please sign our ‘Hands off Heaton Park’ petition to Manchester Council Leader Councillor Richard Leese.

 

Email to ‘Consultation’ Group from Heaton Park – 4.30 on Friday afternoon 8 February 2013
I would like to take the opportunity to give you an update in relation to the Goals Soccer development at Heaton Park.

As you are aware, Manchester City Council has been working for some time now with Goals Soccer plc to create a small sided soccer facility in Heaton Park. The plans for the facility gained Planning Permission in February 2010, so will expire shortly, and the Council is still in discussion with Goals about developing the scheme.

You will also be aware that we lost considerable time defending the village green application.

The commitment is still very strong to the creation of this facility because of the many benefits that it will bring to the local community. So, work will start this weekend, in accordance with the plans, to create the access road to the site of the new car park.

Statement from GOALS Soccer Centre 10 January 2013
Goals Soccer Centres PLC, the UK’s premier operator of next generation outdoor 5-a-side soccer centres with 43 centres in the UK and one in Los Angeles, USA, is pleased to announce a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2012, in advance of the release of the Company’s Final Results on 26 February 2013.

Trading for the year was in line with market expectations with overall sales increasing by 6% to £32m (2011: £30.4m) and like for like sales increasing by 2%. The Company successfully appealed HMRC’s decision to charge VAT on league income during the year and this increased like for like sales by 2%.

In order to focus on strong cash generation and enhance return on capital from recently opened centres, the Board has decided to postpone further new site openings. This strategic move will enable the Board to meet the key objective of using strong cash flow to further reduce net bank debt which has been reduced to £50m from £54m at 30 June 2012. The Group’s net bank loans are £48.8m compared to £52.6m at 30 June 2012. Subject to satisfactory prevailing economic conditions, the Board intends to return to opening additional centres from 2014.

Our facility in Los Angeles has continued to trade well during the period. Due to this being the initial development centre in the US market the Company invested £4.7m to construct this facility. The Company now has a more detailed understanding of the specific requirements in the US and if further centres are developed they will cost significantly less. The Board has reviewed the net present value of the Los Angeles centre based on current trading levels and this has indicated that the value is impaired by £2m.

The Board believes that the there is an opportunity to increase brand awareness, sales and profits through greater investment in social media. A detailed plan has been prepared to improve our online activity and develop a significant social media presence during 2013. Achievement of this plan will necessitate a change in the IT infrastructure used to run our systems which will result in some of our existing Smart Centre system becoming redundant. As a result the value of those elements of the Company’s IT infrastructure and software development costs will be reduced by £1.8m.

Following successful marketing campaigns during February and September 2012 the Company has entered into a new brand partnership with talkSPORT, the UK’s biggest national commercial sports radio station. . This partnership provides unrivalled access to airtime at a significant discount to market rates. Our first official advertising campaign in partnership with talkSPORT commenced on 4 January 2013.

Whilst 2013 looks likely to be another challenging year for the UK consumer, Goals operates in a resilient market place with a favourable price point and a market leading position. This provides the necessary scale to cope with any challenges ahead and the Board remains confident of continued progress in 2013.

Statement from GOALS Soccer Centre 10 January 2012
Goals Soccer Centres PLC, the UK’s premier operator of next generation outdoor 5-a-side soccer centres with 42 centres in the UK and one in Los Angeles, USA, announces a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2011, in advance of the release of the Company’s preliminary results on 28 February 2012.

Trading for the year was in line with market expectations with overall sales increasing by 9% to £30.3m (2010: £27.8m). This has been driven by a resilient performance with like for like sales rising 1%. The impact of the contested VAT on block bookings by teams to fulfil their league fixtures has resulted in overall like for like sales being down 2%.

The Company opened centres in Sunderland, Liverpool South, Norwich and Hull during 2011. Our first modular build centre in Chester will open in March 2012 within the target budget of £1.5m which compares favorably to our historic build cost per centre of £2.3m.

In order to focus on strong cash generation and allow adequate time to evaluate all aspects of the new modular build the Board have decided to postpone further new centre openings in 2012. Subject to a satisfactory evaluation and prevailing economic conditions, we intend to return to opening more centres from 2013.

The postponement of new centre openings in 2012 will also enable the Board to meet a key objective by using strong cash flow to
further reduce net bank debt which, despite a normalised capital spend in 2011, has been reduced to £52.4m from £54.0m at 30 June 2011.

The Company has also entered into a new four year banking agreement with Bank of Scotland totaling £56m comprising a revolving credit facility of £38 million, a term loan of £16 million and an overdraft facility of £2million. These facilities have been negotiated at competitive market rates and will provide the Company with the financial flexibility to meet our growth aspirations.

Whilst 2011 was one of the most challenging years the consumer has faced, it looks likely that 2012 will continue in much the same vein. However, Goals operates in a resilient market place with a favourable price point and our market leading position provides us with the necessary scale to cope with the challenges ahead.

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2 Responses

  1. peter hawksworth says:

    its disgraceful that a commercial enterprise like this has been allowed to take recreational park land. There are enough brown sites in greater manchester that could have facilitated this enterprise. Manchester City Council should never have allowed this development, shame on them.

  2. Dave F says:

    All people wanted was something to do in the evenings. I use to love playing tennis in Heaton Park. But because a bunch of sad people are so selfish and worried about to small chance of the price of their property decreasing by .0001 percent then looks like there will be no sports development in the park. These people represent everything I hate about this country.

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