ASC’s future uncertain after huge rent increase

THE FUTURE of Arbroath SC has been dealt another blow after Angus Council raised the rent on the lease of their home ground by more than £10,000.

The junior football club is already searching for a new venue after the local authority deemed Seaton Park surplus to requirements and is looking to redevelop the land.

ASC’s lease on their ground is up in May and the council has offered to extend the agreement for a further two seasons.

But only after increasing the rent of the park from £900 to £11,000 - an increase of 1,222 per cent.

And with funds already limited, ASC vice-chairman Barry Munro says unless the authority significantly lowers the figure, the club will have no option other than to fold.

He explained: “Seaton Park has now been transferred to the property department from education and they have told us we can have the ground for another two football seasons.

“But I thought it must have been a mistake when the letter said that he rent had increased to £11,000.

“We just can’t afford that, we just about break even after paying all of our running costs.

“The council told us they came to this figure by looking on our website but we don’t even have a website.

“We had a promising meeting with Ron Ashton in the neighbourhood services department on Monday about finding a new home but we still have to survive in the meantime.

“It seems to be the biggest stumbling block.

“The council told us the lease amount is negotiable but even if we meet halfway it is still far too expensive for us.”

“We haven’t got that sort of money to pay £22,000 to keep Seaton Park for another two years.”

When it was announced in January that the council was to dispose of Seaton Park, ASC were assured that another venue for their home games would be found for them in the town.

They claimed they had received no help from the council to do this, but on Monday club officials were able to sit down with the neighbourhood services department to try and find a way ahead.

And Mr Munro added that these talks proved to be positive.

He said: “The meeting went very well and the council have said they will find us somewhere else to play.

“One idea is to make us into a community club and amalgamate us with children’s teams.

“This would help us secure grants and funding which could then be used to pay for dressing rooms at another park.

“But we now only have four weeks before our lease runs out to sort out the new lease and even then our season doesn’t finish until June.

“We are meeting with the property department next week and we will be able to see if they have woken up then.

“It is good that we may be able to find somewhere else but that could take two or three years and we still have to survive in between.”