Affordable homes plan at Peterborough United car park

Affordable homes are being planned for the car park at Peterborough United’s London Road stadium.

By Rob Alexander
Friday, 26th March 2021, 10:42 am

City council finance chief Peter Carpenter made the announcement at a scrutiny meeting on Tuesday.

Mr Carpenter was being questioned about the sale of the ground and nearby land to Posh’s three co-owners which it was claimed will have generated the council an overall profit of £1.7 million.

The corporate director for resources told members of the Growth, Environment and Resources Scrutiny Committee that the authority will be “building on the gravel car park through Medesham Homes over the next couple of years, providing more affordable homes”.

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The Weston Homes Stadium.

Medesham is a joint housing venture between the council and Cross Keys Homes.

Posh are currently planning to re-locate to a new stadium at the Embankment. The club received a £830,000 (20 per cent) discount in its deal to buy back the London Road ground, but the money will need to be repaid if Posh have not moved out by March 2029.

The contract between the two parties will officially be signed on March 31.

Under the arrangement London Road Peterborough Properties Ltd - which is owned by club co-owners Darragh MacAnthony, Jason Neale and Stewart Thompson - will pay £5.265 million for the Weston Homes Stadium, Allia Future Business Centre and 12 car parking spaces, with the council holding onto much of the surrounding land it bought as part of the original deal, including the London Road car park.

The council bought the stadium and land for £8.4 million from a property developer back in 2010. It said including the sale it will have netted taxpayers £12.3 million with more to follow from council tax collections at the Vista carbon zero homes.

According to a new report the commercial value of the stadium and associated properties have been valued by the council’s property advisors NPS Peterborough Ltd at £6 million.

Under the terms of the contract agreed by the council and the Posh co-owners, the first £4.1 million instalment will be paid by the end of the month to make sure the authority meets its budget commitments.

The outstanding balance will then be paid out over the following five years,

The contract also includes a clause which means if the value of the land increases from a future development the council will share the uplift.

The council also agreed a £4.7 million grant to Posh to “fund the enhancement of the facilities” at its training ground at Nene Park Academy in Oundle Road and to “increase community use”.

Mr Carpenter told Tuesday’s meeting: “Since we bought the London Road ground in 2010 for £8.2 million of capital funds we’ve done an awful lot of high-end investment into the infrastructure of the site.

“Having control over the ground allowed us to invest another £2.8 million, along with a lot of government money, to build the Allia business centre.

“This has delivered a significant number of businesses and start-ups since it’s been there, all of which bring in additional business rates which we otherwise would not have had.

“Part of the site was used to develop some 295 Vista homes which have generated over £2 million in council tax since they were built, and that increases at a rate of £400,000 per annum.

“We’ve also had over £4 million in rent from Posh in that time period, and of course we will be building on the gravel carpark through Medesham Homes over the next couple of years providing more affordable homes.

“So, the overall value of the site to the council is around £12.9 million, and in net terms we are about £1.7 million up on the deal.”

Mr Neale added: “We’re very keen and enthusiastic to bring together the football club and the ownership of the stadium together under the new ownership group.

“We think this is very important for the long-term prosperity of the club and in particular enables us to make improvements in the London Road stadium to generate secondary revenues from turning various facilities that are unused into revenue-generating facilities that we can’t do at the moment.

“Concurrent with this is a substantial investment in the youth academy which is the key three strategies of the club, which will hopefully generate higher-value players.

“We also wish to provide as part of this proposal a series of community sports facilities.”

Committee member Cllr Shabina Qayyum (Labour, East ward) asked: “The southern banks of the Embankment have been anticipated as the site for the re-located stadium, although currently no formal planning application has been submitted.

“Have other sites been considered for the re-location, or is that definitely the site that Posh will come to, and if that is the case, have you undertaken any public consultation into this and at what level?”

Mr Carpenter replied: “The council agreed to help Posh to try to remain in an inner-city site, definitely within the city boundary, and that process is ongoing.

“Wherever they do end up, however, there is a long planning application process to go through to actually get to a point of planning consent and, yes, that will include public consultation as well as all the other things you would expect.”

Cllr Keith Lievesley, parish council co-optee member of the committee, asked: “What are the implications for the Allia business centre and the existing football stands if this sale goes ahead?”

Mr Neale replied: “We certainly want to look at generating secondary revenues within the existing stadium with certain modifications, and given the timeline for a new stadium it certainly makes sense to look into that whereas it didn’t make financial sense to make capital investments when we were effectively a tenant.

“In the event that we move I don’t have an answer as to what will happen with the Allia centre. Obviously they’re a tenant in an existing facility so it will be a choice for them whether they want to stay to develop new facilities at London Road or whether they want to move with us to a new stadium.”

Members agreed that the proposal has been given sufficient scrutiny in advance of next week’s transaction.