Palace’s final hurdle remains a section of the Sainsbury’s car park which the club need to purchase from the supermarket chain in order to begin their work. The two parties have been in negotiations for nearly two years with Parish saying Sainsbury’s are now demanding “millions and millions”, accusing them of veering away from an earlier commitment to help fund the redevelopment of Selhurst Park.
The Palace chairman has hinted at looking into “other avenues” with the local council but is hopeful negotiations can continue should Sainsbury’s change their “ridiculous” demands.
“The biggest stumbling block right now is we need a small sliver of land from Sainsbury’s,” said Parish.
“When I first looked at the club, actually, at the time one of the reasons I kind of got more interested was Sainsbury’s basically saying they would build us a stadium. Then that became ‘we might contribute towards a stand’ and that’s now become ‘well, if you want the car park, you’ve got to give us millions and millions of pounds and you’ve got to rebuild our car park.’
“They’re a commercial organisation, we understand that, but I think what they’re asking for is ridiculous and, at the moment, they’re blocking the project basically. It’s fundamentally a ransom strip and they’re holding us to ransom. So I hope that we can get somewhere negotiating with them. I think what they’re asking for is ridiculous, especially in light of all the previous conversations we had with them.
“A better stadium will only enhance their store. There’s a little element of retail in the new stadium that will bring only more footfall. We’ve always had a good relationship with them on matchdays and made the whole thing work and we accept that we’ll have to spend some money, give them some money for the small bit of land we need. But we think what they’re asking for is crazy.
“So we’re looking at other avenues with the council and really how we approach it. Obviously we know this would be, after the Academy, the next step change for the football club and we’re committed to doing it. It’s just we have to stay in the division, build the squad, create assets in the squad, build the Academy and then focus on that.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We have been listening to the concerns of the club and have always been willing to agree a way forward. We are happy to consider the sale of the land at a fair market value.”
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