Cobblers chairman Thomas confident of ‘moving ahead with clarity’ as east stand development agreement is made

The east stand at Sixfields

The east stand at Sixfields

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Cobblers chairman Kelvin Thomas has issued a statement regarding the development of the east stand at Sixfields.

Work on the stand has stalled over the past 12 months due to complicated legal issues, but Thomas has revealed that things could at last now be set to move forward.

Kelvin Thomas

Kelvin Thomas

Thomas revealed that extensive talks have been going on behind the scenes between the involved parites that are the football club, the Borough Council, building group Buckingham as well as CDNL.

After a meeting on Wednesday, all parties agreed to a proposed CVA petition, which should pave the way for work to restart on the east stand development.

Thomas explained: “As has been pretty well documented the east stand development was a lot more complicated than we would have liked and first thought when we bought the club.

“It has been very frustrating for us all, however, today was a big step in the right direction.

“The unfortunate situation we found was that some of the same parcel of land had two leases attached to it, one owned by the football club and one by the company CDNL.

“For over a year now CDNL has been subject to insolvency proceedings with various creditors including Northampton Borough Council and the Buckingham Group, who were the largest of the creditors.

“The potential liquidation of CDNL generated three very serious problems for the football club which included firstly a £291,000 claim by CDNL for money owed by the club dating back prior to our ownership, secondly a retention to title claim by Buckingham Group on the existing stand for unpaid work and thirdly a lack of clarity on which lease actually controlled the land.

“All of these issues together could have cost the club well in excess of £1.2 million and much more time and expense fighting the potential outcomes. Whilst these issues were outstanding completion of the stand was impossible in a sensible cost effective way.

“However, David Bower and I on behalf of the football club purchased the shareholding of CDNL and have been working very hard in the background with the various stakeholders in the insolvency to find a better solution to liquidation for all the creditors, while improving the position for the football club, and today a proposed CVA petition which we funded was agreed by Mazars and voted through by the majority of the creditors.

“What this did was to solve the three major problems the club were facing.

“Through this CVA, Buckingham’s have agreed that they will waive their retention to title claim in the stand, David and I on behalf of CDNL will waive the £291,000 debt owed by the Football Club and the Council have agreed to regularise the lease and land position.

“We feel that this is as much of a win as it can be for the parties involved as the creditors get more money in the pound than in a liquidation and the football club is much better positioned moving forward.

“Now there are still some steps to take before we are able to start work again as with any title and land issues it will still take time to regularise the position and agree the legal documentation, however we are a lot closer than we were yesterday and we will try and push the legal teams to complete this work as quickly as possible.

“It has been a very frustrating process which has taken a lot longer than we would have liked especially as most of it has been out of our control and every day the stand isn’t finished, it’s income the football club is missing out on.

“It has also been hard during this process that we have been unable to provide regular updates due to the various legal ramifications, however hopefully today gives some insight into the complexities of the situation.

“The club itself is a victim of this loan situation, along with the Council and other creditors like Buckingham’s.

“It is quite obvious that the club has not benefitted from the loan monies like it should have and we are all now just trying to pick up the pieces.

“Today as a football club we can hopefully look forward to moving ahead with much more clarity on the east stand development and we expect to be able to provide further updates on the progress in the near future.”