News on the club's plans to get planning permission for a Food Store at Huish Park have been silent throughout almost the whole of 2013. The last update (of sorts) came in February 2013, when South Somerset District Council (SSDC) emailed the club's planning agents MWA asking them if they had any update concerning a request made on behalf of the club to delay the application being heard back in September 2012. That February 2013 query remains as the last note against the application on the SSDC website.
Saturday morning saw an unusual twist to that, with the club's property development partner Chris Dawson in the town of Yeovil to be present at an unrelated store opening. As part of the store's opening, the Western Gazette have talked to him, and he points the finger of blame at SSDC for the delays, claiming that he is prepared to take legal action against them in the High Court if they do not approve the planning application. Dawson accuses the Council of "playing politics" over the Food Store:
"If they want to play, I’ll play. It will be fun and I’ve got deep pockets. We can take it to the High Court, we can take it to the House of Lords, but Yeovil will get this development no matter what."
Dawson's legal threats have been made in advance of any Council planning committee hearing - this had been earmarked for October 2012, but was called off following MWA's request to delay the application. Exactly what they would be reviewing may change, given that the paper also reports that his retail chain The Range - a Home and Garden warehouse-style company - would also be part of the Huish Park development. The plans currently lodged with SSDC in January 2012 reference "the erection of a Class A1 food retail unit" (i.e. a supermarket) but no other building. Yet in addition to The Range being built there, Dawson claims the supermarket is still planned and that there will be 'big' news early next year:
"We’re working closely with the council and there’s progress. There’s been a lot of talking and you’ll see something big happen early in 2014. We’ve made a couple of tweaks to the plans but the principle remains the same."
When these plans were first announced back in March 2011, the club also announced plans to build a 3,500 seater stand at the Copse Road (Away) End of the stadium. However, the eventual January 2012 plans submitted to SSDC did not contain those developments. With the club having since moved into the Championship division, such a development will become mandatory within the next 18 months, assuming they stay at second tier level.
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