September 20 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Rugby club Saracens have been slammed for failing to pay a £380,000 debt to Barnet Council for parking permits stretching back two years.
The Aviva Premiership club moved to Barnet Council’s Copthall Stadium in 2013, re-naming the ground Allianz Park as part of an £8million deal with German financial company Allianz.
As part of the deal, the club and the council agreed to introduce a controlled parking zone (CPZ) outside the ground in Hendon between 1pm and 6pm during 16 Saracens home matches a year.
Saracens agreed to pay the full cost of parking permits for residents and businesses situated within the CPZ.
But council invoices dating back to February 2013 show the club still owe £380,332 for the permits.
Parking campaigner Derek Dishman, also known as blogger Mr Mustard, who uncovered the invoices during a recent annual inspection of council accounts, said: “It’s completely wrong, they should pay up.
“They are very big on community, they don’t seem very big on paying their bills. If I don’t pay for my permit in advance, I don’t get it.
“I think Saracens are wriggling. I think when they agreed to do this, they didn’t realise how much it was going to cost them and don’t like the number they have been presented with and want to negotiate.
“There is no reason why it shouldn’t be paid, it will be in a contract and the council should be applying penalties if it isn’t paid.”
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths said: “We are aware of our obligations to pay the fair and reasonable costs associated with the CPZ and we have an outstanding relationship with the council, which has resulted in creating the busiest community sports stadium in the country.
“The stipulation in our lease is that we are to pay the fair and reasonable costs associated with the CPZ. We are in discussion about what is fair and reasonable.
“What Saracens have done for a community in north London has been remarkable and we have done that with the council. I’m very confident in resolving this with the council.”
A Barnet Council spokesman said: “The council is currently in ongoing negotiations with Saracens in order for us to reach an agreement which is fair and reasonable, as well as protecting the interests of the taxpayer.”