Peterborough United close in on buying stadium back

Peterborough United owners and Peterborough City Council officials sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Front row, left to right, Cllr John Holdich, Dr Jason Neale, back, Cllr David Seaton, Stewart 'Randy' Thompson, PCC chief executive Gillian Beasley, Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Peterborough United owners and Peterborough City Council officials sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Front row, left to right, Cllr John Holdich, Dr Jason Neale, back, Cllr David Seaton, Stewart 'Randy' Thompson, PCC chief executive Gillian Beasley, Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United are set to move a step closer to owning their stadium once again.

The club are currently in talks to buy back the ABAX Stadium and grounds in London Road from Peterborough City Council, with the two parties having signed a Memorandum of Understanding back in October to progress the deal.

Draft contracts are now expected to be signed next month, with Posh hoping to complete the deal by August.

However, Posh’s ownership of the ABAX Stadium may not be long-term with the club continuing to explore whether it should upgrade the ground or move to a new location in the city.

Dr Neale, who has been leading the negotiations to buy back the stadium, has revealed any new site would have to be in or around the city centre.

He said: “We are at the phase where we anticipate exchanging draft contracts with Peterborough City Council between April 1 and 15.

“Typically it would then be two to three months before contracts to complete the sale are exchanged. This will hopefully happen before the start of next season (August 3).

“We have a budget for upgrading the existing stadium and it would be expensive regardless of whether or not we go up (to the Championship). Our internal budget would be higher than £15 million which we either have already or could raise if we needed to.

“Staying is always the easier option but it would become a challenge if it became more expensive to stay rather than to move and start afresh from scratch.

“We have constraints at the current site, for instance in terms of pitch size and access to the stadium.

“We have new sites in mind, but we want to retain as much of the matchday experience as we can so we would stay close to the city centre.

“No decisions on new sites have been made.

“The revenue streams are dependent on staying in the city centre.”

Dr Neale said the club is looking to upgrade The Posh Venue inside the stadium into a sports bar, adding: “We are keen to improve our commercial, non-football revenues.”

The council bought the stadium and surrounding land for £8 million from Peterborough United Holdings Limited (PUHL) in 2010, a deal which was widely welcomed as it secured Posh’s future.

PUHL had previously bought the ground from Peter Boizot in 2003.

The Allia Future Business Centre, a hub for entrepreneurs which is located inside the stadium, is not included in the Memorandum of Understanding.

However, the council and Peterborough United are currently discussing how this forms part of the sale.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are working constructively with the club to try and fulfil the targets set out in the Memorandum of Understanding document.”