The Supporters Trust met with Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas recently and asked the following ten questions from Trust members in respect of the East Stand and land deal being proposed by Northampton Town FC to West Northamptonshire Council.
The responses are below:-
1) We understand that there is a five-year timetable for the East Stand to be completed as part of the proposed deal. So is it possible that work on the stand may not start for several years?
A: Yes. It is in the best interests of the football club to have as long a time frame as possible.
2) Is there an option to take down the existing structure and re-build the East Stand from scratch, so that the stand is the best that it can be?
A: No. Taking the existing structure down and building back from scratch is not a viable option. You would have to add the demolition costs on top.
3) Are there financial projections as to how the club and supporters will benefit in the long term, other than from the completion of the East Stand?
4) Do you intend to build a hotel and conference centre on land behind the East Stand?
5) Is it true that half of the old athletics land, which is protected as part of an Asset of Community Value, will be lost to the club as part of the proposed deal?
A: Yes. But that land was lost to the club during the previous ownership.
6) Do you have plans to build either housing or a warehouse on the eastern half of the old athletics stand land and, if so, how will that benefit the club?
A: No. There are no firm plans in place as to what is going on that land although there is presently high demand for logistics warehouses in west Northampton.
7) Will the cost of buying the freehold of 16 acres of land, completing the stand to the tune of £3-5 million and remediating the land for the purpose required burden the football club with up to potentially £10 million more debt and, if so, how is this sustainable for the club?
A: Yes. But that level of debt will be temporary. We believe this is a good deal for the future sustainability of the football club but accept that the club may still have debt at the end of it.
8) The club has already lost car parking options at the south car park and as part of the proposed deal the north car park will also disappear. Will there be enough new car parking on the development site to accommodate this loss?
A: Yes. Plenty of alternative car parking areas have been identified close to the stadium, off Edgar Mobbs Way.
9) Is it the intention for the owners to have their debt to them repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the land and, if so, what long-term benefit is there to the club and supporters in the wider land deal?
A: Yes. Profit from the land deal will reduce debt on the club and the completion of the east stand will bring increased revenue benefits.
10) As part of wider investment benefit for the football club, do you have a plan to expand and develop both the north and south stands?
A: No. We do not subscribe to the 'build it and they will come' view.