For many months now fans have become increasingly frustrated about the delay to the start to the Moy’s End redevelopment and have become uneasy that something has ‘gone wrong’ and the scheme has stalled.
On Friday morning Trust representatives met Bob Symns at PUFC and were given background information to the following statement contained in the press release made later that day.
15 June 2012 Peterborough City Council and Peterborough United Football Club are pleased to issue a joint statement on the football club ground investment and development.
“The Football Club and the city council are in discussion about the delivery of the new Moy’s End stand and educational facilities. Currently, the club have less than 2 years left on their lease and as the council is investing significant funds into this development, discussions have inevitably turned to future leases, the football club’s critical ambition to eventually own the ground and the remaining investment needed to secure an all-seater stadium. These discussions are continuing and both parties are keen to conclude them as soon as possible.” Statement Ends.
This background information has done much to explain the delays and, if expectations are realised, make the delay explicable and, indeed, welcome.
Ground Ownership: as the press statement might indicate much of the delay in announcing the award of the Moy’s contract is because the club have used the last months of discussion with PCC, about Moy’s, to widen discussions to include negotiations with the council on other matters. These negotiations are almost concluded and it may be surmised that the club will be paying a minimal rent whilst the ground is three-sided and that, when a rent review takes place in two years (at the end of the present lease period), a ‘rent’ may become a ‘mortgage’. We understand that agreement is being sought, and terms discussed, upon the way in which ownership of the ground might pass from the council to the club.
Moy’s End: will possibly remain in its present state for the pre-season friendlies and maybe a game into next season (depends on what the fixture list on Monday throws up for our first home games). However, it is still confidently stated that the reconstruction will be complete and the stand ready for the start of the 13/14 season. Much work – floodlighting, moving electricity sub-station, relocating water tanks, re-routing services, etc. – is being done now and the actual demolition is just the culmination of that preparatory work.
London Road End stand: the council are not finding it easy to attract a developer to fund a new LR stand. If the club become assured that they will have a direct financial interest in future improvements (i.e. own or have the firm expectation of owning the ground) they envisage becoming much more involved in redevelopment initiatives and believe that they may be able to positively contribute towards finding a funder. In the event that a developer is not found in time to redevelop LRE straight after the completion of the Moy’s end contingency arrangements are being put in place to enable continued use of LRE.
The Trust board welcome this news and hopes that the discussions and agreements continue to conclusion. Darragh MacAnthony has always expressed a desire to own the ground and as the council are, perhaps, not enthusiastic owners the solution being discussed is one that should be ‘win win’. Although the direct benefit to fans of a change of ownership is not immediately apparent the board feel that fans views about future developments may be listened to and better received by the club rather than the council.