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Ian Benjamin

Aug 12, 2010
Found this article this morning, might finally be getting some progress on FF.

Sainsbury’s has long been a friend of League Two football club Southend United. The supermarket is hoping to take over its stadium at Roots Hall for redevelopment as a store. What could go wrong for the Shrimpers, as the club is known?

Its chairman, Ron Martin, already owns the club’s training ground, Fossetts Farm, where it wants to develop a new stadium after it sells Roots Hall to Sainsbury’s. What has gone wrong is that Martin has spent a decade negotiating with the freeholders and occupiers of seven shops on Victoria Avenue, which borders its stadium, as the site is only interesting to Sainsbury’s if the shops are demolished.

During protracted negotiations with Martin, the value of the shopkeepers’ properties rose and fell. Compulsory purchase orders are in place if negotiations fail. Raj Buxani speaks on behalf of his sister, owner for the past 40 years of Kebabish Oriental and Super Pizza on Victoria Avenue.
Four years ago I said it would cost £900,000 to £1m to find another property, but I haven’t been offered anything,” he says. Feelings ran so high that one protestor, paraphrasing Welsh rock band the Manic Street Preachers, daubed the walls of Sale Appliances with the words: “If you tolerate this, then your building will be next.”

Kris Sale, proprietor of the electrical appliance store, has cleaned off the graffiti and says he may be close to a deal with Martin. “At the moment, everything is going through OK. There won’t be any compulsory purchase orders, although they were threatened.”
Sale has run the 2,500 sq ft premises, created by two freehold and two leased shops, for 16 years. He refuses to disclose Martin’s offer, but says it would be sufficient to rent or buy a new shop in Westcliff-on-Sea or Leigh-on-Sea, suburbs of Southend.

A spokesman for Martin is confident that shop owners will settle and says the club will put the contract out to tender for a 22,000-seater stadium later this summer.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s also anticipates that planning permission will be granted soon: “We have a resolution to grant planning on an outline basis [from the council],” she says.