Waterworld boss Mo Chaudry buys Cannock's Chase Park sports ground
A Staffordshire sports club that was plunged into receivership has been bought by multi-millionaire businessman Mo Chaudry.
Mr Chaudry, who owns the Waterworld swimming and leisure complex in Stoke-on-Trent as well as the M Club fitness chain, bought Chase Park, home to Cannock Cricket & Hockey Club for £1.45 million last month.
The 25-acre site went under the hammer after receivers were called into the site in June.
- Cannock's Chase Park sold for £1.45m one month after being locked up
- Clubs left in limbo as Cannock's Chase Park sports ground locked up
It was secured by one of Mr Chaudry’s businesses after a rival bidder was beaten in an online auction bidding war.
The site is on greenbelt land and South Staffordshire Council has said it remains committed to it being retained as a sporting facility.
There are also a number of legal constraints on the site and Sport England retain a charge on land occupied by one of the hockey pitches after a funding grant made in 2008.
Mr Chaudry said: “We haven’t completed yet, so at this stage it is too early to make any formal statement as to what our plans are.
"We plan to discuss options with all the interested parties and make a decision in due course. Our plans will evolve in the coming weeks.”
Cannock Cricket Club and Cannock Hockey Club have been forced to play their games away from the site, in Church Lane, Hatherton, after being locked out of their home ground.
Mr Chaudry, aged 58, who once appeared on TV’s The Secret Millionaire, is based in Newcastle under Lyme and grew up in Wellington, Shropshire, after his family moved to the UK when he was a child.
He has been a controversial figure, hitting the headlines earlier this year over nude swim sessions at his Waterworld leisure centre after it was hired by British Naturism.
Meanwhile Cannock Cricket Club is appealing for donors to its fighting fund, which has so far raised almost £4,000.
To support the cricket club go to www.gofundme.com/f/save-cannock-cricket-club.
Why was Chase Park locked up?
The ground was locked up by receivers from Duff & Phelps of London Ltd on June 26 after a dispute between developer Craig Watts Ltd and Sport England.
The wrangle centred on the length of lease being offered to the clubs as part of a proposed development to turn the under-used pavilion and bar into apartments while building new clubhouses for the cricket and hockey clubs.
Sport England, which holds a legal charge on a hockey pitch on the land, initially refused to accept anything less than a 15-year lease for the clubs while Craig Watts Ltd was only prepared to offer a 10-year lease.
Meanwhile Duff & Phelps were acting on behalf of Promontoria Pine DAC, a so-called vulture capitalist group which held a charge on the land after buying up the site’s debt from the Allied Irish Bank during the financial crisis of 2008.
The crisis stemmed from Chase Park’s long-term loan, taken out in 2008, to relay an artificial hockey pitch.
That debt was sold by the Allied Irish Bank to Promontoria during the financial crisis.
All parties insist no payments were missed but Promontoria refused to enter into a new loan agreement last year and refused an extension to the agreement to allow the dispute to be resolved, instead sending in receivers.
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