Southend United: Ron Martin leaves Fossetts Farm company

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THE government says there is “no formal commitment” in place for a £30m injection to fund plans to build a new Southend United stadium and more than a thousand homes.

Homes England has confirmed discussions have taken place on the housing element of the Fossetts Farm plan, but no agreement is in place and any deal would be ‘subject to detailed due diligence’.

The loan was previously described as “absolutely crucial” for the plan for a state-of-the-art stadium, 107-bedroom hotel and more than a thousand homes, by Southend Council leader Ian Gilbert.

It was expected that Homes England would lend the money to Roots Hall Limited, the company behind the development.

Southend UTD v Oxford, Blues lost 4-0, PIc LM 23/11/2019.Ron Martin.

It comes two weeks after Ron Martin, chairman of the Blues, resigned as manager of Roots Hall Limited.

His son Jack remains director of the company.

Ron Martin, chairman of Southend United since 2000, is currently awaiting trial after being accused of failing to pay more than £5million in tax.

A Homes England spokesperson commented: ‘While Homes England has already had discussions with the landowner to determine how we could best support the housing release scheme, we have not made a formal commitment.

“Any infrastructure loan or formal infrastructure loan offer will be subject to detailed due diligence.”

Investment - Fossetts Farm Development

Investment – Fossetts Farm Development

Martin, 68, and former chief executive Geoffrey King, 75, are accused of failing to pay £4,485,000 in value added tax for the sale of land in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

The couple are also accused of failing to pay £921,260 in VAT in relation to the sale of land in Thundersley, to the same company, Redrow Homes PLC.

Southend Council remains hopeful that a deal can be struck to ensure the development, which is expected to bring £500m to the city and create more than 1,000 new jobs, continues.

Resignation - Blues President Ron Martin

Resignation – Blues President Ron Martin

If plans go ahead, 182 apartments and a range of buildings to provide a total of 1,114 accommodations on the site.

Mr Gilbert said: “The board have had discussions with the club and potential backers and things appear to be progressing positively.”

Planning for the new stadium was approved in February, with proposals for two corners of the stadium to accommodate 182 apartments.

Mr Martin told the Echo the takeover of Roots Hall Limited would have no impact on plans for the stadium or the houses.

He added: “RHL is a single-purpose investment company with primary administration provided by internal accountants and external auditors. The project is managed by an experienced team of professionals with both development and finance expertise.

Mr Martin said Homes England was among a “number of potential funding partners”.

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