City Council leader John Holdich shook hands with the three owners of Peterborough United to agree the sale of the London Road Stadium back to the club before today’s (August) home match.
The Weston Homes stadium is now ‘a step closer’ to being back in the club’s control following the agreement of a a Head of Terms on the sale.
The symbolic handshake in front of thousands of Posh supporters, Councillor Holdich, shook hands with club owners, Darragh MacAnthony, Dr Jason Neale and then R Stewart Thompson.
The council will be retaining much of the surrounding land it bought as part of the original deal, including the London Road car park. The Vista development land on which 295 carbon neutral homes were built is also excluded from the sale.
This, combined with the rent paid by the club over the past nine years and ongoing council tax payments and business rates mean the total return on investment of the deal so far stands at £3.9million according to the council’s statement released today.
The completion of the sale is now expected to take place later this year, roughly 10 years after the council bought the ground and surrounding land from a property developer to unlock the potential of the site and to secure the future of the football club in its long-term home.
Councillor John Holdich, said: “As a lifelong Posh fan, I’m thankful that the city council was able to step in and purchase the club back in 2010, to stop it being bought by investors outside of the city. It was originally our aim to sell back to the club at a later date for the same price.
“However, we have been able to greatly exceed our expectations in terms of our return on investment as well as delivering wider benefits for the club and the city as a whole.”
The council has so far made a £3.9million return on investment following the purchase of the club for £8.4million back in 2010:
£5.265 million gained from selling the football ground, future business centre and 12 car parking spaces back to Peterborough United Football Club.
£700,000 - Value of London Road car park, which has been retained to provide 82 affordable city centre apartments through the council’s Medesham Homes partnership.
£491,291 in business rates through the creation of the Allia Business Centre, which will continue to be collected in future years.
£2million in council tax for Vista carbon zero homes, which will continue to be collected in future years.
£3.9 million in rent paid by Peterborough United Football Club
Total - £12.3million*
Cllr Holdich added: “The city council has, and will continue to, work closely with Peterborough United to the benefit of the city as a whole. The club is an intrinsic part of Peterborough’s national identify and brings in over £7million of revenue to our city each year. It boosts our tourism, improves fitness, creates local jobs and improves the health and wellbeing of over 1,000 young people from all communities each week.”
The Posh co-owners, said in a statement from the city council: “We would firstly like to say thank you to Peterborough City Council for the opportunity and support they have extended to the football club to allow us to make this unique decision and bring the ground back to the ownership of the football club.
“This represents the next step in the journey to securing the long-term aspiration of Peterborough United and is a critical part of our redevelopment vision for the future. We have been working in partnership with the city council to get to this point and we are sure our supporters are pleased and excited about this latest development.
“There is a little time to go before the final contracts are exchanged but both parties are committed to concluding this process as soon as possible.”
The sale includes the stadium and the Allia Future Business Centre, but excludes the surrounding land, which has been used to create additional city centre carbon zero housing.
The club and city council will continue to collaborate in future years with the planned creation of a Peterborough-based learning accelerator focusing on sports science, digital arts, software, and other technologies traditionally not found in the eastern region. An accelerator implementation plan will be presented to the community for input by autumn 2020.
Also planned is an angel investment network, to help business entrepreneurs associated with the learning accelerator get matched with investors to help them realise their ambitions