Yeovil Town Football Club's stadium and surrounding land has had a new Legal Charge placed against it by co-owner Norman Hayward. According to documents published as part of obligations under the UK Companies Act and the Land Registration Act, the Charge was placed against Huish Park in October 2016 between the Yeovil Football and Athletic Club Limited (aka the original Yeovil Town Football Club company) and Mr Hayward at his own personal home address.
The Legal Charge acts as a mortgage, securing undisclosed debt against the value of the Huish Park land. The document describes the charge as being against:
"All that Freehold land and property and the Stadium thereon at Huish Park, Lufton Way, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8YF which is registered at the Land Registry under title number ST135866".
The actual amount at stake is not specified within the document, nor is the redemption date by which the loan must be repaid. However, the Charge inserts a clause preventing Yeovil Town Football Club "from creating further security that will rank equally with or ahead of the charge" - i.e. they cannot secure any further loans secured against the stadium or surrounding land, without it being clear that the secondary mortgage ranked behind this agreement.
Aside from the general provisions that any mortgage agreement would have, the document also includes three key clauses that would be significant for any future events which may occur. The first relates to changes that are made to the Huish Park land:
"The Mortgagor (Yeovil Town Football Club) shall not without the previous written consent of the Mortgagee (Norman Hayward) make any structural or material alteration to, or pull down or remove any part of any building, fixtures and fittings, services and service media in, on or associated with the Property."
In plain English this means that the Football Club cannot make any changes to the internal or external areas of the stadium or surrounding buildings without the agreement of Mr Hayward.
The second provision relates to any future sale of any Huish Park land, with a Covenant being lodged with the Land Registry that reads as follows:
"No disposition of the registered estate by the proprietor of the registered estate or by the proprietor of any registered charge, not being a charge registered before the entry of this restriction, is to be registered without a written consent signed by Norman Haywood (sic) ... or his conveyancer."
In plain English this means that the Football Club cannot sell the land/stadium to another party, nor secure any further loans against the land without the permission of Mr Hayward.
The third provision relates to the rights those parties have in the future, in the event of the person(s) who have signed the legal charge having moved on:
"All of the obligations in this Charge and rights granted for the benefit of the Parties shall be binding upon and be capable of exercise by any successors in title or assigns of the Parties."
In plain English this means that the Legal Charge would remain in place even if the ownership of the Football Club changes - i.e. it runs independently of Mr Hayward's current co-ownership of the Football Club. It would also imply that the rights to the Legal Charge would be inherited by Mr Hayward's Estate in the event of his death. The only way to discharge the agreement would be either by mutual consent, or by repayment of the unspecified loan amount. As with all mortgage agreements, if the Football Club default on the terms of the loan agreement (at present it's not clear what they are), then Mr Hayward could become the direct owner of stadium and land.
It should be noted that this Legal Charge has been lodged separately from a March 2011 agreement between Yeovil Town Holdings Limited and Norman Hayward, that secured a loan of £278,000 against the same Huish Park land. That Legal Charge is still listed as outstanding.
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