Grilling over Peterborough United stadium deal to be ‘partially’ held in secret as Posh financial penalty clause emerges
A grilling over the sale of Peterborough United’s stadium from the city council to the club’s three owners is set to be partially held in secret.
Chiefs at the local authority will be questioned over the deal at a public meeting on Tuesday with members of the public and press due to be excluded from parts of the debate.
The council said this is because “information confidential to the operation of and the financial affairs of Peterborough United Football Club” will be disclosed.
However, it has insisted that other parts of the debate will be held in public.
News of the exclusion is contained in a report which also reveals that a £830,000 (20 per cent) discount given by the council to the club will need to be repaid if Posh have not moved from their current London Road ground to a new stadium on the Embankment by March 2029.
The report also stated the stadium deal was delayed by a year due to Covid-19, with the final contract now being signed on March 31 as exclusively revealed by the Peterborough Telegraph.
Under the deal, 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 the 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.
However, the local authority is granting a £830,000 discount to Posh on the sale of the assets in order to “recognise the economic benefit provided to the city by the football club”.
This, though, will need to repaid if Posh are unable to follow through with plans to move into a new 17,500 seater stadium at the Embankment which the club believes will not happen until 2023 at the very earliest due to delays caused by the pandemic.
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”.