A ‘clear the air’ meeting over Shay sale proposal

New Fax marketing director Tony Abbott, managing director of Reactiv Media, Elland
New Fax marketing director Tony Abbott, managing director of Reactiv Media, Elland

Businessman Tony Abbott is to host an open forum for Calderdale residents who want questions answered about the sale of the Shay stadium.

Mr Abbott, who owns Reactiv Media which is behind the bid for the Shay, said the meeting will be a chance to clear the air and see his plans for the Halifax stadium should his attempts to buy it be successful.

He said: “With everything that’s gone on and a lot of comments on social media we have decided to have an open forum and show people our vision.

“I hope to justify the bid and put everyone’s concerns to bed. I want as many people there as possible - if all 200,000 Calderdale residents turn up that’s great.

“I have a target to rid people of the negative thoughts around this.”

Gavin Butler, of the Halifax Town Supporters’ Trust, said: “The talking now needs to be done by the council over whether they are putting the Shay up for sale or not.

“It is them who need to make their intentions clear rather than any potential buyer.”

Mr Abbott is a CEO of Halifax RL - which plays at the stadium along with FC Halifax Town - and the club has faced criticism from football fans for being £52,000 in arrears with rent owed to Calderdale Council.

“The terms for discharge of Halifax RLFC’s liability for fees at The Shay have been covered throughout the discussions I have held with council officers,” said Mr Abbott.

“A timescale for clearance has been agreed in writing with the council head of democratic and partnership services Ian Hughes and will be honoured, regardless of the issue of the sale of the Shay Stadium and its future management as a major centre of employment in Calderdale.”

The meeting comes in the wake of Halifax Town Supporters’ Trust having their application to recognise The Shay as an Asset of Community Value accepted by Calderdale Council.

Calderdale Council’s leader, Coun Tim Swift, said: “The listing gives community groups an opportunity to bid to buy the property on the open market. This opportunity is triggered if the owner of the property formally confirms an intention to sell.

“Whilst the council has not made any decision to sell the Shay, we have confirmed there will be no objection to the listing.”

Mr Butler said: “Having the Shay listed as an Asset of Community Value reaffirms the trust’s view that the Shay is at the heart of the sporting community in Calderdale and should be recognised as an Asset of Community Value.”

Mr Abbott responded to the news with concern for any future sale. “This could put the whole process in jeopardy.”

The meeting will be at the Shay, from 7.30pm, on Thursday, October 24.