Fans need 'statement of intent' on Northampton Town ground after stadium 'stalemate'

Plans to develop Northampton Town's East Stand are still up in arms due to a problematic lease on the Sixfields land.
Plans to develop Northampton Town's East Stand are still up in arms due to a problematic lease on the Sixfields land.

The supporters' trust representing Northampton Town fans says it is "both frustrated and concerned" about the lack of progress to the half-built East Stand, three months after an impasse looked to have been cleared.

In June it looked as if Northampton Borough Council and the Cobblers owners had overcome a long-running legal wrangle concerning a parcel of land at Sixfields, which was putting the stoppers on a stadium development.

The council agreed to hand over a problematic lease relating to a parcel of Sixfields land to a company owned by club chairman Kelvin Thomas at its cabinet meeting on June 13.

Both parties said there was still some paperwork to complete to finalise the deal following that meeting.

But three months on, the paperwork is yet to be completed.

Andy Roberts, chair of NTFC Supporters Trust, said that the club’s fans now need "a clear statement of intent" around the East Stand development, outlining "how and when the development should progress in the event of a change in the club’s ownership".

“We need reassurance that the council and football club are working together in the best interests of retaining a thriving, ambitious and progressive football club in Northampton, one that is rooted in the community," said Mr Roberts.

“The continuing stalemate is disappointing as we have been told that the money is there, and plans are in place for the building work on the stand to be finished off.

“Both the council and the club’s owners may presently have a different focus, we understand that, but the club’s supporters deserve better than this.”

Responding, Northampton Town said it was continuing to make progress with the legal paperwork.

A club spokesman said: “The decision at the cabinet meeting was an instruction to allow the officers to get on with the process, but there is still a legal process to follow.

"The good news is that the club has a very positive dialogue with the new chief executive and his team at the council and we are working together to move matters along in a sensible manner.”

A spokesperson for Northampton Borough Council echoed the sentiment.

“The council has been working closely with the football club during the past few months to ensure the final agreements fully reflect its requirements," a statement from the authority read.

"There is still work to be done but both parties are working together to finalise this."