D-Day for Northampton Town as High Court judge is set to hear winding up petition

The unfinished East Stand at Sixfields Stadium
The unfinished East Stand at Sixfields Stadium

A High Court judge could have a crucial say in the future of Northampton Town Football Club today as the company sub-contracted to build a new East Stand at Sixfields seeks to recover the money it is owed.

Stadium specialists Buckingham Group Limited, will have its winding up petition against County Developments (Northampton) Limited (CDNL) heard in Birmingham this morning.

Buckingham Group claims it is owed £2.989 million from CDNL for construction works completed at Sixfields.

CDNL, a company owned by Cobblers chairman David Cardoza and his father Anthony, was set up to project manage the Sixfields redevelopment after the original contractors, 1st Land, went into administration in January.

CDNL also owns the rights to develop the land around Sixfields, which has planning permission for a hotel, retail, a conference centre and 255 homes.

But if wound up, the company, owned by David and Anthony Cardoza, could lose that option and with it the rights to a potentially lucrative, multi- million pound development deal.

In another tough week for Cobblers fans, which saw Northampton Town itself issued with a winding up petition for unpaid taxes (see overleaf) and saw the club miss its deadline to repay the £10.25 million loan to Northampton Borough Council, a Buckingham Group spokesman broke the company’s silence about its involvement in the Sixfields project.

Within the statement, the company claimed it was owed nearly £3 million in total.

The firm also claimed its contract value with 1st Land Ltd to build the replacement East Stand at Sixfields was valued at £ 4.151m after the plans were scaled back by the club in April 2014.

Buckingham Group said it had only ever been paid £441,917 in total, despite the fact it claims to have carried out around £3.4 million of building work.

It said 1st Land Ltd made three payments under its contract with Buckingham between May and July, 2014.

But the statement added: “When we pulled off site in September 2014 we were owed a total of £1.852m by 1st Land Ltd.”

This is confirmed in the latest administrator’s report for 1st Land published in June of this year by Mazars LLP.

The statement added: “We pursued 1st Land Ltd for payment up until the beginning of December 2014 when we commenced administration proceedings against 1st Land Ltd.”

But, with 1st Land out of the picture due to it being in administration, Buckingham Group returned to the site in March, 2015, under a contract with County Developments (Northampton) Limited.

The administrator’s report for 1st Land at the time stated that CDNL Ltd had agreed to pay the outstanding money owed to Buckingham before December 31, or an additional £50,000 by September 2016.

The Buckingham statement said that new agreement “was based on repeated assurances received from Mr Cardoza that there were adequate, additional loan monies which remained available to draw down from the borough council to fund the completion of the East Stand works”.

Speaking to the Chron, Mr Cardoza, in response, said: “Neither myself nor Buckinghams would have got into the contract unless we thought that there was money there to pay it.”

Buckingham Group this week claimed it had not received any payment from County Developments (Northampton) Limited.

“We signed a new contract to complete the East Stand with County Developments (Northampton) Ltd (CDNL) and returned to site to resume work on April 13, 2015,” the statement said.

“Under this new contract CDNL also accepted liability to pay Buckingham the £1.852m debt owed by 1st Land Ltd, no later than December 31, 2015. The first payment to Buckingham under the new contract with CDNL was due on May 8, 2015 but was not forthcoming. On May 20, we issued a formal notice to suspend works on the grounds of non-payment,” the statement said.

Shortly after Buckingham Group pulled off the Sixfields site for the second time, Mr Cardoza announced an Indian consortium of businessman were interested in buying the club.

At that point, it was understood that Northampton Town decided to halt the current plans for the East Stand and review ahead of potential new owners buying the club. The Buckingham Group says its decision to stop work was driven by the financial situation.

The statement said: “We wish to make it clear that the reason why the East Stand construction works ceased completely in early June 2015 was entirely due to non-payment of monies due and certified.

“The cessation of works had nothing whatsoever to do with any purported proposals from any prospective investor with plans to re-design the stadium.

“We stopped work because we were not paid,” the statement added.

A representative of 1st Land declined to comment on the Buckingham statement. The Chron has approached Mr 
Cardoza and CDNL for comment.