Posh Supporters Trust welcomes stadium ‘assurance’ after deal for London Road ground signed

The Posh Supporters Trust has welcomed the deal for the club to buy back the stadium from Peterborough City Council.

By Joel Lamy
Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 4:00 pm

The contracts were formally signed by Posh chief executive Bob Symns and council leader John Holdich today (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.

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Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich and Posh chief executive Bob Symns on the day the contracts were signed

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”.

Commenting on the deal, supporters trust chairman Marco Graziano said news that the covenant requiring that the London Road ground be used for professional football would transfer over if Posh moved to a new stadium is a “positive development for everyone connected with the football club”.

Posh are currently planning to re-locate to a new stadium at the Embankment.

The club received a £830,000 (20 per cent) discount from the council in its deal to buy back the ground, but the money will need to be repaid if Posh have not moved out by March 2029.

Mr Graziano said: “The new covenant over the ground provides assurances that if in future the London Road stadium is to be sold, at least a new equivalent stadium will be provided and ready for professional football before the sale of the London Road stadium takes place.

“This assurances applies to each and every future stadium sale.

“This is one of the key commitments that the trust was seeking to ensure PUFC always had a stadium home at least equivalent to the existing facilities.

“In addition, the trust presented a coherent case, and took legal advice, to try to ensure that the covenant reflects the desired location of any future stadium as being in the city of Peterborough.

“The trust hopes that the new covenant definition of ‘Peterborough area’ will, in effect, mean in Peterborough, ruling out a move a long way out of town which would negatively affect many supporters.”

He added that “the publicised Embankment site clearly meets that ambition”.