Now is probably a good time to take stock and look at the progress of our bid to have the Valley recognised an Asset of Community Value (if you would like to understand the basics of the ACV campaign there is an FAQ for you to read).
The paperwork has been with the council for one day short of three weeks now and by my reckoning the “due date” of our ACV baby is the 18th of September. This timeframe, as with all expected dates, could change and whilst the legislation which created the ACV designation stipulates eight weeks, Oxford United had to wait 12 for their little bundle of joy.
There has been a lot of discussion in various internet forums and quite a few people have spoken to me in the Lib before our last two home games regarding what ACV designation will - and most importantly won’t - mean for the Valley. The legislation isn’t perfect; there are lots of scenarios it doesn’t account for and in truth that is to be expected. You see the Asset of Community Value designation wasn’t really meant for football stadia; rather its intended target was local community centres, pubs, libraries etc. It’s just that football stadia, when you think of it, share something in common with all of these places – us. They are a rich part of our culture and a part which is all too easily lost when cold hard cash comes into play. Yes football is a business, but isn’t it so much more than that? How many of you, like me, have some of your fondest memories play out in the backdrop of a football stadium, how many glorious (and some not so glorious!) hours did you spend with loved ones who may no longer be with us at the Valley? When you try and put a value on our Valley you’d better make sure you price in all of those memories, thousands of them which are important to thousands of people. You’d better take into account all of the memories that are yet to be created, they count too.
ACV designation won’t ensure that Addicks have a say in absolutely every scenario which could see the club leave the Valley, but it’s a start. It’s more than we have right now which means it’s worth fighting for, and Charlton supporters more than any other in the land know how to use the tools available to us and fight to preserve our club and our ground.
So far 836 people have signed the petition and membership numbers have swelled by over 100 new paid members (118 to be precise) since we began to discuss the possibility of a bid to secure ACV status for the Valley. This is great but we want more. We want as many Addicks (and/or local residents) to sign the petition here https://www.castrust.org/petition-valley-acv-campaign/ and join the Trust here https://www.castrust.org/join/.
Since the campaign began we have received support from the Shadow Minister of Sport, Clive Efford, Jeff Brokenshire MP and members of the London Assembly. We have visited parliament, hosted a stall at the inaugural “Club Day” at the Valley and this week we will meet with Greenwich Council to discuss our application. We have had support from far and wide including a public message of support from the club itself. We have also seen a huge decision by Trafford Council who approved Manchester United Supporters Trust’s application to have the largest club ground in the country designated an Asset of Community Value. We will have a stall outside the ground for the games against Doncaster and Leicester so if you’d like to talk directly then just pop over and say “hi”.