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Sixfields deal Q&As from July 21 full council meeting

21st Jul 2020

Questions posed by Northampton Borough Council opposition party leaders Cllr Danielle Stone (Labour) and Cllr Sally Beardsworth (Liberal Democrat) to Cllr Tim Hadland (Conservative), NBC cabinet member for Regeneration and Enterprise:-

Cllr Stone to Cllr Hadland
First can I say how thrilling it is to see the Cobblers come through at Wembley and lift
the trophy. The demand for tickets this season is surely going to grow. This makes the
questions we have about the club ever more important. Please may I ask the
We know the Memorandum of Understanding entered into in November 2015
between NBC & the club's owners is legally non-binding. But why are none of its
commitments being honoured? This includes the commitment of the club's owners to
complete the East Stand from their own funds given to the Council in 2015?

We note there are six questions relating to Sixfields following the recent media stories
over this. For some time, the football club have been keen to pursue development of
land in the area of the Sixfields stadium, and have put fonrard ideas for a number of
possible development schemes.
Although discussions are ongoing between the Club and the Council there are no
agreements in place and any deal must deliver best value for the taxpayer.
The non-binding commitments in the Memorandum ol Understandinc entered into in
November 2015, were made at a point in time and have, where possible been largely
There was no commitment given in the MoU for the completion of the East Stand
ln discussions with NBC, Kelvin Thomas and David Bower did make commitments at
the time to build the East Stand but this was not part of the MoU or any formal binding

An article in the Athletic stated that a "significant sum" of money had changed
hands in 2017 when the Chinese owned SUsPort Ltd acquired control of NTFC's
holding company, Northampton Town Ventures Ltd. No receipt of any funds is
recorded in the statutory accounts of Ventures or its controlling company at that time,
the English registered, Fantastical Ltd. Given the existence of serious questions
surrounding this transaction, the wider ethical issue of an English local authority
dealing with a company under the ultimate control of an offshore tax haven company
in respect of the sale and development of public land, can you confirm that full
professional due diligence has been carried out on NTFC and all its connected
companies to satisfy the Council of their finances, source of funds and the tracing and whereabouts of any Chinese funds?

As with any commercial transaction the Council enters into appropriate checks will be
undertaken at the relevant time to ensure that the Council's interests are protected.
These checks vary in their scale according to the size and type of agreement, but we
can confirm that thorough checks will be undertaken in relation to any transaction
around Sixfields.


Kelvin Thomas, in response to the recent media reports, said in a BBC
Northampton interview on 25 June that he expects any new agreement between the club and the Borough to be open to public scrutiny. Can the Council confirm that all the details of the Option Agreement including any letters of intent, MoUs and the like will be open to scrutiny and debate by all councillors and the wider public before anything is signed?

We can confirm that should there be any deal acceptable to the Council we will follow
our established governance processes, including formal decision-making by Cabinet.
This will allow scrutiny by the public and councillors in accordance with our normal

Cllr Beardsworth to Cllr Hadland

Following their stunning victory at Wembley and promotion, Northampton Town
players and supporters can look forward to a bright future.
Like everyone in the town I wish to see our football club prosper and in particular hope that success on the pitch is matched by improvements to Sixfields Stadium and in particular completion of the long awaited East Stand.
These questions follow on directly from those of Cllr. Stone. Both sets of questions arise from discussions we have had with members of the NTFC Supporters Trust.

This agreement is being negotiated at a time when the CPS has not yet filed charges and the KPMG Report is not finalised - what protocols are being followed regarding delegation of authority to councillors & officers to agree terms and involving the section 151 officer?

Any agreement will be made in line with the Council's formal procedures with
recommendations being taken to Cabinet for a decision to be made. Relevant Officers,
including the section 151 Officer will be involved in the normal way.
Full Due Diligence will be undertaken of any agreement in relation to this matter with
appropriate levels of scrutiny.

What protections will be contained in any agreement for NTFC (meaning its
supporters as distinct from its owners) concerning its original leasehold land and the future retention within the club of income from the development rather than it being moved through the club to repay debt to the club's owners?

There have been no changes to the agreement with CDNL since the agreements
entered into in 2015.
Any new agreement will need to consider and undertake the obligations relating to the
site as an Asset of Community Value.
It will be up to NTFC, which is a separate legal entity to decide how it allocates it
finances relating to its business.

The media reports state a 50/50 split of "profits" is agreed between NTFC & NBC from the development. Precisely, what expenditure is to deducted from the top line sale proceeds before determining the actual divisible profit?

The terms of any deal have not yet been agreed and discussions are ongoing.
The Council will comply with its duties to achieve best value for the taxpayers of the

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