THE leader of Southend City Council Daniel Cowan has approved moving forward with negotiating new heads of terms with Citizen Housing.

The Council had previously set today as the deadline to get the Fossetts Farm deal agreed.

And, after a day of turbulent talks, enough progress has been made for discussions to move forward. 

However, terms have only been partially met meaning further work with external advisors is still required in sorting the deal which is vital to securing Southend United's future.

In a statement issued this evening, Cllr Cowan said: “Today we have had further crunch talks with Citizen Housing and a number of key items moved close enough to our red lines in the last couple of hours that I have approved us moving forward with negotiating new heads of terms.

“Our terms only being partially met and a late hour means that we need to do further work with external advisers which if proves to be good will enable us to move closer to developing heads of terms ready for new due diligence.

“We have worked every minute possible this week to get this completed but ultimately we needed the input and acquiescence of others just to get to this point.

“Though we could not have done more on our end, I hope it was enough.”

The statement came after a turbulent day of talks.

And Cowan hinted at it being far from straight-forward in his statement.

He added: “Late last night we received proposed heads of term from Citizen Housing and whilst they had moved from the deal which failed due diligence they did not satisfy the criteria we set out last week.

“We set that criteria informed by the due diligence so that the proposal would have a fair chance of passing new due diligence, it could get through planning and the council wasn’t taking dangerous risks with public money.

“We said that we would walk away if our position was not met and would not return for further talks once we had done so.

“The future of the club and the finances of the city are important to me but I was elected to lead the city for all residents and my first priority must be to people’s services which is why I have to take a hard line on where our red lines are drawn.

“However, I have always said if there is a way forward that works for the city and saved the club then I have to be receptive to a well-evidenced counterproposal.”

The Fossetts Farm project must be sorted before the consortium can officially take control of the club,

The consortium have been approached for comment.