Clubs In Crisis
Nobody wins unless everybody wins...
www.ClubsInCrisis.com 13 April 2009 - 16:27

Help Save The Albion

On this page:

Wish we were here! (21/5/2004)
Thousands set to miss out on Albion's Big Night (19/5/2004)
Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons (24/3/2004)
National Falmer Day - Download leaflets (1/3/2004)
National Falmer Day! (25/2/2004)
How The Albion Help The Community (17/2/2004)
MP: We Could Lose Seats Over Stadium Decision (15/2/2004)
Campaigning to Continue (14/2/2004)
Please be our Valentine, Mr Prescott! (11/2/2004)
Premier & Football League Clubs Say It With Flowers! (7/2/2004)
Brighton Supporters Sit-In To Save Club (6/2/2004)
Falmer For All - Press Release (5/2/2004)
Please Write to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister (5/2/2004)
Letter from Ken Bodfish, Leader of Brighton & Hove Albion City Council, to the Deputy Prime Minister (4/2/2004)
Albion’s Fury at Inspector’s Report on Local Plan (4/2/2004)

See also:

Why Should John Prescott Approve The Community Stadium?
The History of the Brighton & Hove Albion Crisis
Where Will The Community Stadium Be Sited?


Falmer Letter
Falmer For All logo

Contributions needed - please send to:

Barclays Bank plc
Sort Code 20-12-75
Account Name: Falmer For All Fund
Account No: 50838012

Wish we were here! (21/5/2004)

Click for larger imagesContinuing their intensive campaign in support of the Albion’s application for the new Community Stadium, the Falmer For All Campaign has produced a unique picture postcard. The postcard, to mark Brighton & Hove Albion reaching the Division 2 Play Off Final at Cardiff (v Bristol City, Sunday 30 May), features the Millennium Stadium and the proposed Community Stadium at Falmer.

Every fan purchasing a ticket for the Final will be given the postcard to send to the Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Prescott and Planning Minister Rt. Hon. Keith Hill.

Chair of the Falmer For All Campaign Paul Samrah said, “At last we are in a game which all our supporters can see! 21 years ago this month, Brighton & Hove Albion was on the world sporting stage – playing Manchester United in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Next Sunday, the Albion will take 30,000 fans to Cardiff. Yet pitifully the Club is forced to play its home games in a temporary rented athletics stadium with a capacity of less than 7,000. Of the many thousands of postcards that will shortly arrive at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, more than three quarters will be from supporters that cannot buy a ticket to watch their home team. The City of Brighton & Hove and its football team desperately need a purpose built Community Stadium. We urge John Prescott and Keith Hill to give us a sporting chance and give Falmer the go ahead”.

Background note to Editors

Brighton & Hove Albion’s plans for a new Community Stadium at Falmer, which would secure its future, are in jeopardy. Despite an overwhelming show of public support, a report by a Planning Inspector on the City of Brighton & Hove’s new Local Plan has summarily dismissed the proposals, citing a lack of National Interest and that part of the site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The final decision though now rests with the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and is expected in the next ten weeks.

Quite simply, without Falmer, there can be no Brighton & Hove Albion. Why? Because the present temporary home is a rented 7,000 capacity athletics stadium - income is capped and ongoing losses are the inevitable result.

Plans were submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council for a Community Stadium at Falmer in October 2001. The Council approved the application by 11 votes to 1. The application though was ‘called in’ for a Public Inquiry, this concluded in October 2003. The Club has spent £2.5m on the application to date.

The Falmer For All Campaign continues to urge MPs and members of the football community across the country to urgently write or email the DPM asking him to back Falmer : 26 Whitehall, London SW1A 2WH or email: planning.general@odpm.gsi.gov.uk

For further information , contact:

Paul Samrah, Chair FFA 07768 - 004260 (M), 01273 - 492399 (H), 01737 - 781546 (W)
Tim Carder, Chair BHAFC Supporters’ Club 01273-503810 (H)

Return to Top of Page


Thousands set to miss out on Albion's Big Night (19/5/2004)

Several thousand Brighton & Hove Albion fans will miss out on the Club's bid to make it to the Nationwide Division 2 Play Off Final this Thursday evening, as the Club's tiny Withdean Stadium simply is not big enough to cater for the huge demand for tickets to the 2nd leg Play Off semi-final against Swindon Town.

Chair of the Falmer For All Campaign Paul Samrah said, “The Albion’s temporary ground will once again be crammed to its capacity of less than 7,000. Our situation is utterly hopeless without John Prescott’s go-ahead for a new stadium at Falmer. The city of Brighton & Hove and its football team desperately need a purpose built Community Stadium.

We have thousands of letters of support for the stadium from right across the country. We have the City Council’s support (11-1), we have the City Referendum result (67% in favour) and we have the 62,000 signature petition. Not forgetting the small matter of the Early Day Motion (EDM 889) tabled in the House of Commons in support of Falmer as the site, which in under 9 weeks has so far attracted 106 signatories including several high profile Labour & Conservative MPs.”.

The Albion’s Chief Executive Martin Perry said, “We could have sold this game out several times over. Even our proposed new 23,000 seat stadium would not have been big enough. This is yet another factor that demonstrates the need for this stadium. Withdean simply is not big enough to cater for the people of Brighton & Hove who want to come and support their team.

Return to Top of Page


Early Day Motion tabled in the House of Commons (24/3/2004)

(Click here for the latest update)

An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been tabled in the House of Commons, in support of Brighton & Hove Albion’s application for a new Community Stadium at Falmer. Within a matter of hours of being tabled, the EDM (No: 889) has attracted high profile Labour & Conservative support.

An EDM is a colloquial term for a notice of motion given by a Member for which no date has been fixed for debate. EDMs allow Members to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow Members.

Proposer of the EDM, Deputy Chair of the House of Commons All Party Football Group, Burnley Labour M.P. Peter Pike said “Football fans everywhere know how important local clubs are to the town in which they are based, and the mutual benefits that grow out of that relationship. Brighton and Hove, like Burnley, are proud of their football team. I hope the Falmer site gets the all clear and that they can enjoy many years and games of success in their new community stadium - except, of course, when they play Burnley!”

Chair of the All Party Football Group, Feltham & Heston Labour M.P. Alan Keen said: "League football in Brighton and Hove has played a vital part in the city and enhanced community spirit for many years. This application offers a superb and unique opportunity to enhance the assets of the local area and is undoubtedly needed, not just for football but for the wider economic, cultural and leisure benefits that will result."

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport Julie Kirkbride and M.P. for Bromsgrove, recently visited the proposed site at Falmer and was one of the first to sign the Early Day Motion. Ms Kirkbride commented, “A huge amount of effort has been put into these plans and the stadium would make a great use of the site, next to a station. The plan makes enormous sense. It's good for Brighton and Hove, good for fans, good for the local population and good for the Club. It's win, win, win all round and I very much hope John Prescott sees the good sense of this proposal. I am happy to lend any support I can in Parliament to make sure it goes ahead".

Paul Whelch from the FFA Campaign said “The EDM clearly sets out the tangible benefits that the stadium will bring. These are not only benefits for the local community, but for the whole country. I am delighted that Peter Pike is sponsoring this motion supported by Alan Keen and Julie Kirkbride. Support is coming from Members of Parliament from across the country and across the political divide. This is a One Nation issue. Local MPs, David Lepper and Des Turner, are also strongly supporting the EDM. The Early Day Motion commends the Falmer plans to the Deputy Prime Minister and we will be urging MPs to sign it. In so doing, they will demonstrate that the strength of feeling on this matter extends well beyond the Albion’s own supporters”.

Paul Samrah, Chair of the FFA Campaign, added “Brighton & Hove Albion are part of the national game and it is very significant that the EDM has attracted support from MPs across the country. With John Prescott’s decision expected in the next eight weeks, the Club’s future hangs in the balance. Our long campaign has now arrived at the nation’s seat of democracy - the overwhelming public majority have said Yes to Falmer, the City Council have said Yes to Falmer and now the DPM’s own Parliamentary colleagues are saying Yes to Falmer. We urge John Prescott to listen and say Yes to Falmer. Quite simply without Falmer, there can be no Albion.”

Background note to Editors

The EDM reads:

That this House congratulates Brighton and Hove Albion FC on its success since returning to Brighton in 1999; further congratulates the Club for its hard work in partnership with the local authority and elected representatives to develop a community stadium at Falmer; believes that the only suitable site for a community stadium is at Falmer; welcomes the economic and socio-economic benefits that will accrue to the Club, the community of Brighton and Hove and the local authority, directly through increased tourism, educational opportunities, skills-training and employment, which will also be beneficial for the country; further recognises that the development will complement national Government objectives, by incorporating sustainable transport strategies and will promote social inclusion by providing a focus from which to build community programmes; welcomes the Club's vision of building on its existing community links and expanding its successful Football in the Community programme within the new facility; believes that the community and wider benefits of the proposed stadium at Falmer far outweigh any neglible impact on the Sussex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; recognises the evidence given by national organisations during the public inquiry demonstrating that the stadium is in the national interest; acknowledges the overwhelming public support for the plans at every stage of consultation; and commends the Falmer site proposal to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Further details of the EDM (Number : 889) can be found at edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=889

Brighton & Hove Albion’s plans for a new Community Stadium at Falmer, which would secure its future, are in jeopardy.

Despite an overwhelming show of public support, a report by a Planning Inspector on the City of Brighton & Hove’s new Local Plan has summarily dismissed the proposals, citing a lack of National Interest and that part of the site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The final decision though now rests with the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and is expected in the next eight weeks.

Quite simply, without Falmer, there can be no Brighton & Hove Albion. Why? Because the present temporary home is a rented 7,000 capacity athletics stadium - income is capped and ongoing losses are the inevitable result.

Plans were submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council for a Community Stadium at Falmer in October 2001. The Council approved the application by 11 votes to 1. The application though was ‘called in’ for a Public Inquiry, this concluded in October 2003. The Club has spent £2.5m on the application to date.

The Deputy Prime Minister, in his capacity as First Secretary of State, is expected to publish his decision in the next eight weeks, having this week granted a further consultation period.

The Falmer For All Campaign continues to urge MPs and members of the football community across the country to urgently write or email the DPM asking him to back Falmer :

26 Whitehall, London SW1A 2WH or email: planning.general@odpm.gsi.gov.uk

For further information , contact:

Peter Pike M.P. 020 – 7219 – 3000 (House of Commons)
Alan Keen M.P. 020 – 7219 – 2819 (House of Commons)
Julie Kirkbride M.P. 020 – 7219 – 1101 (House of Commons)

Paul Samrah, Chair FFA 07768 - 004260 (M)
01273 - 492399 (H)
01737 - 781546 (W)

Paul Whelch 07946 - 219898 (M)
020 - 8981 –2915 (H)
020 - 8355 –2609 (W)

Return to Top of Page


National Falmer Day - Download leaflets (1/3/2004)

A leaflet is available for download in the following formats:

Click the link to view the file in your browser. To save a file, right-click the link and select "Save Target As...".

See below for more details about National Falmer Day.

Return to Top of Page


National Falmer Day!

Press Release 25/2/2004

The Falmer For All Campaign has designated Saturday 6 March as ‘National Falmer Day’.

Continuing their intensive campaign in support of Brighton & Hove Albion’s application for a new stadium at Falmer, groups of Albion fans will be attending FA Cup, Premier & Football League matches across the country on Saturday 6 March. Supporters will be handing out leaflets outside grounds with a view to harnessing further nationwide support.

Chairman of the Falmer For All Campaign, Paul Samrah, said “With John Prescott’s final decision possibly only days away, the Club’s future hangs in the balance. Quite simply, without Falmer, there can be no Brighton & Hove Albion. ‘National Falmer Day’ will harness the national support that exists amongst the football fraternity. We reiterate our call to football fans everywhere to urgently write or email the Deputy Prime Minister asking him to back Falmer.”

As part of ‘National Falmer Day’, matchday programmes on Saturday 6 March will feature an article on the Club’s plight. Matchday PA announcers are also being asked to mention the campaign.

Fixtures for Saturday 6th March

FA Cup Qtr Finals

Portsmouth v Arsenal
Man Utd v Fulham/West Ham
Millwall v Tranmere (Sun 7/3/04)
Sunderland/Birmingham v Sheffield United (Sun 7/3/04)

Premiership Birmingham v Bolton
Nationwide Div One

Burnley v Preston
C Palace v Reading
Gillingham v Nottm Forest
Rotherham v Bradford
Stoke City v Watford
West Brom v Coventry
West Ham v Walsall
Wigan v Crewe
Wimbledon v Sunderland
Norwich v Ipswich Town (Sunday 7/3/04)

Nationwide Div Two

Barnsley v Luton
Blackpool v Port Vale
Bournemouth v Wycombe
Chesterfield v Sheffield Wednesday
Colchester v Hartlepool
Notts County v PLymouth
QPR v Oldham
Rushden v Peterborough
Stockport v Bristol City
Swindon v Brentford
Wrexham v Grimsby

Nationwide Div Three

Boston v Rochdale
Bristol Rovers v Southend
Bury v Leyton Orient
Cambridge v Northampton
Cheltenham v Lincoln City
Kidderminster v York
Macclesfield v Darlington
Mansfield v Hull
Oxford v Huddersfield
Scunthorpe v Yeovil
Torquay v Carlisle
Swansea v Doncaster Rovers (Friday 5/3/04)

Return to Top of Page


How The Albion Help The Community (17/2/2004)

In case anyone is any doubt about how a football club can help their local community, and change lives, here is a letter from someone Special to me...

Mr John Prescott
Deputy Prime Minister
26 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2WH

RE: THE BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION PROPOSAL FOR A COMMUNITY STADIUM AT FALMER

To Mr John Prescott,

I am 17 years old. I also have dyspraxia, a co-ordination disorder. As you can imagine, this has made my life very difficult. At primary school I was repeatedly bullied and excluded from the normal actvities a child partakes in. At that time I had very low self-esteem and self-confidence.

However, from the age of around 12, I started going to a football club, run by Brighton and Hove Albion, called the ‘Seagulls Specials’. This gave me the chance to play football with others with a disability, varying from down’s syndrome to speaking difficulties. Going to this club gave me the self-confidence and self-esteem and loads of new friends. It also helped me overcome my dyspraxia to the point where I was able to gain 8 B’s in my GCSE’s and am now taking A-Levels with the hope of going to university.

There are over a hundered other stories similar to mine of children who have had their lives changed by this club, and the pride they have in representing Brighton and Hove Albion is clear to see. Many of whom, have signed this letter. We will be one of the groups to benefit from the community stadium at Falmer should it be be built as a facility for us to use in order to continue to help children and adults with their difficulties. I urge you to recommend that the stadium goes ahead for the benefit of the community and so that many more like me can benefit.


Yours sincerely,

RJ

Return to Top of Page


MP: We Could Lose Seats Over Stadium Decision (15/2/2004)

By Matthew James

An MP fears he and Labour Party colleagues could lose their seats if Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott sounds the death knell for the Albion.

Brighton Kemptown MP Des Turner believes the prospects for Labour's local MPs will be almost as bleak as the football club's chances of survival if Mr Prescott rejects Albion's plans for a 22,000-seat community stadium near Falmer station.

All three Labour MPs in Brighton & Hove were elected for the first time in 1997 and successfully defended the former Conservative strongholds three years ago. Dr Turner's seat is a key Tory target with a majority of only 4,922. David Lepper will defend a majority of 9,643 in Brighton Pavilion while Defence Minister Ivor Caplin's majority in Hove is only 3,171.

Dr Turner said, "I don't think it would be helpful to any of us if the stadium was to be turned down. If it was a tight contest, it could swing the difference against us. There's obviously a large number of people who feel strongly about it and they will be very upset if it looks under threat."

More than two-thirds of voters backed a stadium at Falmer in a city-wide referendum and 61,000 signed a petition in favour. Although the petition included people from every postal area in Great Britain, emphasising the national significance of the club, feeling is running particularly high in Brighton & Hove.

The proposed stadium at Falmer The city council's planning committee voted 11-1 in favour of the stadium, which would regenerate one of the poorest council wards in the South East, but public inquiries were held last year into the city's Local Plan and the planning application.

Local Plan inspector Charles Hoile is recommending the Falmer site, next to a station and the A27, should not be allocated for a stadium. His findings have shocked Albion directors who believe they have a solid case and claim he disregarded crucial information.

The three Brighton & Hove MPs plus Michael Foster (Hastings & Rye, Labour majority 4,308) and Laura Moffatt (Crawley, Labour majority 6,770) are urging Mr Prescott to support the stadium scheme, which has a very heavy emphasis on public transport.

They said in a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, 'It is indisputable that a large community stadium would be a real boost to the economy in Sussex and would continue to be a focus for regeneration.

'It is a fact that the hotel and restaurant business is a key sector in each of our constituencies, and therefore it is important that these jobs are supported by other leisure activities. This stadium proposal would create a superb new leisure facility, without comparison in the region, able to host cultural events and attract new visitors.

'The success of this application is not just about football, although Brighton & Hove Albion FC play an important part in our local communities. The success of this planning application is, we believe, crucial to the future development of economy and the culture and leisure of this area.

'We therefore have no hesitation in commending this proposal to you and hope that the application will receive your support when you determine the final decision in the near future.'

Mr Lepper said, "I hope the people will recognise that the three MPs for Brighton & Hove have consistently been doing all that they can to get this stadium. I'm reasonably confident that John Prescott will say 'yes', but this is a very important issue."

Return to Top of Page


Campaigning to Continue (14/2/2004)

As the intensive 7-day campaign to raise awareness of the plight of Brighton & Hove Albion draws to a close, there is no sign yet of when a decision will be made by the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the community stadium for the city.

We are therefore maintaining this campaign until the outcome is known.

Since the Goldstone Ground was sold from under our feet in 1995, Brighton fans have been battling for a new stadium. Anyone who has been to Withdean will know how desperately we need one.

The plans for a 22,000-seat stadium at Falmer, on the edge of Brighton, are now with John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, who will make the final decision. If it goes against us then Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club is doomed.

We cannot stay at Withdean, and there is no other viable site apart from Falmer. Even if there was, we cannot afford another planning application - the present one has cost £2.5 million. The club will die. It might be quick or it might be slow, but it will die.

What we are asking fans of ALL clubs for is this.

PLEASE either write a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister or send an email AS A MATTER OF URGENCY. PLEASE DO THIS NOW.

We need to get over to Mr Prescott that the benefits of the stadium vastly outweigh the minimal environmental impact it would have. You can read the arguments here.

Please make the following points in any letter or email (you can cut and paste this bit):

Dear Deputy Prime Minister

I am writing to urge you to approve the plans for a community stadium at Falmer, Brighton. I believe you should do this for the following reasons:

1. Brighton & Hove is a somewhat isolated city of national importance with 250,000 residents. Its football club is important as part of the national league competitions in our national sport. A stadium in the city is clearly in the national interest.

2. A stadium is essential for the well-being of any town or city. The Brighton & Hove community stadium would provides huge benefits in sport, health, education, skills, crime-reduction and employment, especially in the deprived areas of East Brighton. It will enable the football club to fulfil its potential within the community for the benefit of all.

3. The site identified by the city council on the University of Brighton campus and adjacent field is the only location in the area for a stadium where a sustainable transportation strategy can be implemented in line with Government policy. Land-take is thus minimised.

These benefits far outweigh the loss of a small area of land in the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Since the previous, discredited, absentee owner sold the club’s former ground against the wishes of an entire community, Brighton & Hove Albion supporters have battled for nine years to provide a suitable home for their club. Please approve the plans for Brighton & Hove's community stadium.

Yours sincerely

etc etc

PLEASE BE SURE TO ADD YOUR NAME AND POSTAL ADDRESS whether on a letter or an email. You might also like to add which team you support. Then the Deputy Prime Minister will understand that this is an issue for people all over the country.

You can of course embellish the above points with any you wish to make, but it is essential that you send something if you ever want to come and see football by the seaside again.

Letters should be sent to:

Rt Hon John Prescott MP
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
26 Whitehall
London
SW1A 2WH

Emails should be sent to planning.general@odpm.gsi.gov.uk

Letters on headed paper would be especially welcome from football clubs, supporters’ clubs, ISAs, trusts, etc.

We would also ask you to contact your own Member of Parliament. In fact you can send him/her a letter or email similar to that above. This all helps to keep the campaign going. If you are not sure who you MP is, you can find out at www.locata.co.uk/commons.

Thank you for your help. Please pass information about this website www.ClubsInCrisis.com to as may people as possible.

Further information on the Brighton & Hove Albion crisis can be found on the official football club website www.seagulls.co.uk

Return to Top of Page


Please be our Valentine, Mr Prescott!

Falmer For All Campaign : Press Release : 11 February 2004

Continuing their intensive campaign, Albion supporters will be presenting a giant Valentine card to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Constituency HQ (430 Holderness Road, Hull – opposite Westcott Street) on Saturday 11 February at noon.

Chairman of the Falmer For All Campaign, Paul Samrah, said “We would like to thank the thousands of people from all over the country who have supported us in the last week. We also have the backing of all the other 91 Premier & Football League Clubs. All of this evidenced support underlines, yet again, the significance of Brighton & Hove Albion to the National game. We wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day on Saturday – and we look forward to delivering our very special Valentine card to Mr Prescott’s Constituency HQ in Hull.”

Return to Top of Page


Premier & Football League Clubs Say It With Flowers! (7/2/2004)

Brighton & Hove Albion's plans for a new Community Stadium at Falmer, which would secure its future, are in jeopardy.

Despite an overwhelming show of public support, a report by a Planning Inspector on the City of Brighton & Hove's new Local Plan this week summarily dismissed the proposals, citing the lack of National Interest as one of the main reasons. The final decision though now rests with Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott and is expected within a matter of days.

Quite simply, without Falmer, there can be no Brighton & Hove Albion. Why? Because the present temporary home is a 7,000 capacity athletics stadium - income is capped and ongoing losses are the inevitable result.

As part of their 7 day campaign to Save the Albion, all 91 Premier & Football League Clubs have now been contacted and asked for a message of support, one that expressly emphasises the importance of the Albion as part of the National Game. Each Club's message will be attached to an individual bouquet of flowers - to be delivered to the DPM's office at Admiralty House, Whitehall, London SW1 at 2pm on Tuesday 10 February.

Chairman of the Falmer For All Campaign, Paul Samrah, said "We have had a terrific response already - and 10 Clubs gave their messages of support within the first 90 minutes of being contacted. We are overwhelmed at the support we have received across the country. John Prescott should be in no doubt that this a matter of National importance to the sporting community and beyond."

After the delivery has been made, the Falmer For All Campaign will be asking the Deputy Prime Minister's Office to pass the bouquets onto local hospitals.

Return to Top of Page


Brighton Supporters Sit-In To Save Club (6/2/2004)

Fans of Brighton & Hove Albion are staging a sit-in after their game at Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow, Saturday 7th February. The 20-minute demonstration will raise the profile of the campaign to build a community stadium at Falmer, Brighton, a project which has massive support within the city.

Falmer For All Campaign member Tim Carder said: 'We may have as little as seven days to save this football club. If John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, turns down the stadium plans, Brighton & Hove Albion will die. That is the stark reality of the situation. The demonstration at Wycombe will be first of a series of events to publicise the plight of our 103-year-old club nationwide.

'We are asking all those who care about football across the country to register their concern by writing to or e-mailing John Prescott, to emphasise that this stadium is an issue of national concern.'

'Listen to the people, Mr Prescott!'

Tim, who is also chairman of the Albion Supporters’ Club, called for Brighton supporters to publicise a web site which highlights the situation.

'Three years ago we set up the www.ClubsInCrisis.com web site to assist other clubs that find themselves in difficulty. It’s ironic that our plight is now the headline news. The web site contains full details of how to help the campaign, and we will be keeping it up-dated with new initiatives. We have made many good friends in football over the last few years and we are out to make more. Our demonstrations will be peaceful but designed to attract attention. I call upon all Brighton supporters to publicise this campaign, by contacting newspapers, radio and TV stations, Internet sites and supporters’ organisations. We need all hands on board to win this battle for the survival of the Albion.'

Note for Editors

Plans for a new community stadium were approved by Brighton & Hove City Council in 2002, but have been the subject of a public inquiry. The final decision rests with John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State, and could come at any time.

A recent report on the local development plan for the city recommended that the site at Falmer should not be allocated for a stadium. However, the city council and the football club have shown that Falmer is the only viable site for a community stadium.

Contact: Tim Carder tim.carder@virgin.net

Return to Top of Page


Falmer For All - Press Release (5/2/2004)

Less than 7 days to save the Albion

During our long campaign, we have amassed over 62,000 petition signatures and over 45,000 votes of support (67% of votes cast) in a City Referendum for the proposed new Community Stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion at Falmer. In addition, last December, Des Lynam & Fat Boy Slim visited 10 Downing Street to deliver over 6,200 individual letters of support personally addressed to the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

Yet despite this overwhelming show of public support, a report by the Local Plan Inspector on the City of Brighton & Hove’s new Local Plan has this week summarily dismissed the proposals. The final decision though now rests with John Prescott and is expected within a matter of days.

Chairman of the Falmer For All Campaign, Paul Samrah, said “Every great City needs a Stadium – it is vital for the community and for Brighton & Hove Albion. We are shocked at the Local Plan Inspector’s report. For that reason, we are now imploring football fans from all over the country to write or email John Prescott one final time. In 1997, Fans United helped save the Albion after the Goldstone was plundered – now 7 years on, Fans United can help deliver a future for our 102 year old Club. Full details are on www.seagulls.co.uk. This 7 day campaign is critically important - quite simply, no Falmer – no Brighton & Hove Albion.”

Ends

Background note to Editors

Plans were submitted to Brighton & Hove City Council for a Community Stadium at Falmer in October 2001. The Council approved the application by 11 votes to 1. The application though was ‘called in’ for a Public Inquiry, this concluded in October 2003. The Deputy Prime Minister, in his capacity as First Secretary of State will publish his decision any day now, having received the Planning Inspector’s report.

Return to Top of Page


Please Write to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister (5/2/2004)

Since the Goldstone Ground was sold from under our feet in 1995, Brighton fans have been battling for a new stadium. Anyone who has been to Withdean will know how desperately we need one.

The plans for a 22,000-seat stadium at Falmer, on the edge of Brighton, are now with John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, who will make the final decision. However, on 4th February, a report by a planning inspector into the local development plan for the city recommended that this site should not be allocated for a community stadium.

This is extremely unhelpful, to say the least, but we believe the report ignores much of the evidence at the recent public inquiry and the Deputy Prime Minister should afford it little weight when he makes up his mind.

We don’t know when we will hear the Mr Prescott’s decision. It could be as little as seven days’ time, but if it goes against us then Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club is doomed.

We cannot stay at Withdean (which is for temporary use only and very inadequate - capacity 7,000) and there is no other viable site apart from Falmer. Even if there was, we cannot afford another planning application - the present one has cost £2.5 million. The club will die. It might be quick or it might be slow, but it will die.

What we are asking fans of ALL clubs for is this.

PLEASE either write a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister or send an email AS A MATTER OF URGENCY. PLEASE DO THIS NOW.

We need to get over to Mr Prescott that a new home for Brighton & Hove Albion, as part of a nationwide league of clubs playing the national sport, is a matter of national importance - especially as the Brighton urban area is the 10th largest in England and Wales (1991 census).

So, the points to make are as follows (you can cut and paste this bit):

Dear Deputy Prime Minister

I am writing to urge you to approve the plans for a community stadium at Falmer, Brighton. I believe you should do this for the following reasons:

1. Brighton & Hove is a somewhat isolated city of national importance with 250,000 residents. Its football club is important as part of the national league competitions in our national sport. A stadium in the city is clearly in the national interest.

2. A stadium is essential for the well-being of any town or city. The Brighton & Hove community stadium would provides huge benefits in sport, health, education, skills, crime-reduction and employment, especially in the deprived areas of East Brighton. It will enable the football club to fulfil its potential within the community for the benefit of all.

3. The site identified by the city council on the University of Brighton campus and adjacent field is the only location in the area for a stadium where a sustainable transportation strategy can be implemented in line with Government policy. Land-take is thus minimised.

These benefits far outweigh the loss of a small area of land in the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Since the previous, discredited, absentee owner sold the club’s former ground against the wishes of an entire community, Brighton & Hove Albion supporters have battled for nine years to provide a suitable home for their club. Please approve the plans for Brighton & Hove's community stadium.

Yours sincerely

etc etc

PLEASE BE SURE TO ADD YOUR NAME AND POSTAL ADDRESS whether on a letter or an email. You might also like to add which team you support. Then the Deputy Prime Minister will understand that this is an issue for people all over the country.

You can of course embellish the above points with any you wish to make, but it is essential that you send something if you ever want to come and see football by the seaside again.

Letters should be sent to:

Rt Hon John Prescott MP
Deputy Prime Minister
Cabinet Office
Whitehall
London SW1A 2WH

Emails should be sent to planning.general@odpm.gsi.gov.uk

Letters on headed paper would be especially welcome from football clubs, supporters’ clubs, ISAs, trusts, etc.

Thank you for your help. Please pass information about this website www.ClubsInCrisis.com to as may people as possible.

Further information on the Brighton & Hove Albion crisis can be found on the official football club website www.seagulls.co.uk

Return to Top of Page


Letter from Ken Bodfish, Leader of Brighton & Hove Albion City Council, to the Deputy Prime Minister (4/2/2004)

Dear Deputy Prime Minister
Re: Brighton & Hove Local Plan

Your department will by now have received a copy of the Inspector’s report on the Brighton & Hove Local Plan. There are two issues which cause me great concern and will be extraordinarily controversial within the city. These relate to the provision of affordable housing and the Community Stadium for Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club.

The Football Club’s proposals for a Community Stadium at Falmer have received massive local support in a referendum which the council organised alongside the local elections in 1999. In addition our Local Plan itself has won Planning Awards and endorsement by an Independent sustainability Auditor for its innovative use of public consultation. The Inspector openly disregards all of this in frankly disparaging terms. He also calls our arguments around local housing shortages and high rents “gratuitous”. This does not seem to me the appropriate objectivity which should be brought to such important issues. The Inspector’s lack of understanding of such local significance is further illustrated by his view that the “least objectionable” site for a stadium would be Sheepcote Valley – which currently is unable to even support children’s playing fields due to problems with the pitches having been built on an old landfill site.

In recognition of the acute housing shortage in Brighton & Hove we have been operating a policy of 40% of units in any new housing development being affordable. The Inspector says that this is too high and that in his view “it would lead to a slowing down of the pace of house building”. I have to say that there is not one shred of evidence for this view and we have been applying this policy since the Plan first went on deposit in 2000.

Brighton & Hove’s planning policies are being developed in the spirit of sustainable communities and the new urban agenda. It is my firm belief that the Inspector is looking to the approach taken in the past and is being blinded to the realities of Brighton & Hove.

I have no doubt whatsoever that your office will be bombarded with letters from fans. Feeling locally is bound to run very high. I would urge you to look very critically at these two conclusions in the Inspectors report and if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Ken Bodfish, OBE
Leader, Brighton & Hove City Council

Return to Top of Page


Albion’s Fury at Inspector’s Report on Local Plan (4/2/2004)

Knight Urges Football Fans to Write to Prescott

The sections relating to Falmer of the Local Plan Inspector’s report on the Deposit Draft of the City’s Local Plan, were sent to the Albion late this afternoon.
Amazingly, it recommends to the Council that they should not include an allocation for the Community Stadium at Falmer, which was one of the key policies in the Local Plan.

The reaction to the report is that it is superficial, because it ignores much of the detailed evidence contained in the club’s Stadium Planning Applications that were considered in depth at the Public Inquiry. It therefore deserves to carry little weight in the decision-making process currently being undertaken by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott.

Albion Chief Executive Martin Perry said: “I find it very surprising that a report like this has been released in advance of the Deputy Prime Minister making his decision, but it is important to realise that it does not bind John Prescott or the Council in any way. Our planning applications have not been rejected, but this report is very unhelpful.

“I am sure that the Deputy Prime Minister will take fully into account the evidence that was put before the Inquiry which the Local Plan Inspector seems to have ignored.”

Albion Chairman Dick Knight said: “This report appears to have jumped the gun – we still have not been told when John Prescott will be making his decision – and I am incensed that it completely disregards the overwhelming public support for the stadium.

“It should not be allowed to influence Mr Prescott’s decision and I call on all Albion fans to write to him urgently. It would be totally unfair for this club, this city and this community to be denied their right to a modern stadium because compelling facts have been casually dismissed.”

A second statement is issued advising fans that they must write as a matter of urgency:

Brighton & Hove Albion Chairman Dick Knight is calling on football fans everywhere to write to John Prescott to express their dismay at the report produced by the Local Plan Inspector on the City of Brighton & Hove’s new Local Plan.

The report recommends that the council do not allocate a site at Falmer for a new stadium, and completely ignores local issues and the Albion’s urgent need for a new home and proposes another site – which is completely unsuitable – and one where there will be even more opposition.

Knight said, “I call on all football fans to write to the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott urgently. It would be totally unfair for this club, this city and this community to be denied their right to a modern stadium because compelling facts have been casually dismissed.”

To help you do this, we have set out below some of the key points to make:

• The report does not recognise the very real difficulties of finding a suitable site in the Brighton & Hove area
• It does not reflect the overwhelming public support for the stadium project at Falmer and the detailed consultation process that took place prior to selecting the site
• The planning application clearly demonstrated the club’s need for a new stadium
• It provided evidence of the national importance of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club
• It set out the huge number of jobs and opportunities for education and skills training that would be provided by the development
• It included an innovative sustainable transport scheme
• It demonstrated that the Falmer site had the least impact of any of the very few potential sites for a stadium in the Brighton & Hove area.

None of these points were taken into account in the Inspector’s recommendations – and letter writers should ask Mr Prescott to take these factors into account when he makes his decision.

Letters should be sent directly to

Mr John Prescott,
Deputy Prime Minister,
Cabinet Office,
Whitehall,
London
SW1A 2WH.

We would urge all football supporters to take the time to write immediately. Time is running out, so don’t delay.