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Save Feethams campaigners in last-ditch legal appeal
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to save a former football stadium from redevelopment have made injury time appeal to the Attorney General.
Shaun Campbell and Doug Embleton have written to the Attorney General's Office questioning the validity of the sale of the land at Feethams, the former home of Darlington FC.
The last-ditch request for an intervention comes as work begins to build houses on the site of the former football stadium.
The two men, from The Arthur Wharton Foundation and the Save Feethams campaign, said their aim was to “achieve a definitive answer to the question of the validity of the sale of the land at Feethams, and the way in which the proceeds should be applied”.
Mr Embleton said the Attorney General had the authority to investigate the handling of the trust, adding: “The question of the procedural legality of the sale in terms of the original deed and of which trustees of the Feethams Field Trust actually voted for it has been like a jack in the box for several years. Every time somebody puts the lid on the box, it pops open again.
“Our sole objective is to obtain a definitive answer and to bury the urban myths which have built up for so long. “
Mr Campbell said it was not about a legal fight between the cricket club and the football club.
“Whatever happened in the past - if the trust is charitable then either the land, or the proceeds of any valid sale of the land, should be applied in accordance with the terms of the trust.
"We believe that this should be to the recreational benefit of the people of Darlington, as determined by the trustees, who should include the existing mayor and Member of Parliament.”
But Brian Johnson, chairman of Darlington Cricket Club, rejected the suggestion that the sale was not valid.
He said: “The land has been sold and development work is underway.
“The sale was conducted by independent solicitors on both sides. They were perfectly satisfied as to the title of the land.”
Mr Johnson said the land was purchased by the cricket club in about 1900 and was protected by the formation of the Feethams Cricket Field Trust.
He said claims that the land was preserved for public use were “totally incorrect”.
“There is absolutely no question of the football club coming back,” he added.
“They chose to leave and Mr Reynolds left owing us £10,000 in unpaid rent – I think we got £83 back.”
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