Cobblers Supporters' Trust outline 'key elements' of their plan for ACV land at Sixfields

Joint venture proposed with more details to be released next month

By James Heneghan
Monday, 20th June 2022, 10:18 am
Updated Monday, 20th June 2022, 10:23 am
The ACV land behind Sixfields Stadium.
The ACV land behind Sixfields Stadium.

Northampton Town Supporters’ Trust have outlined the ‘key elements’ of their plan for the Asset of Community Value land at Sixfields Stadium.

The Trust have held an ACV on the disused athletics track behind the stadium since 2017 and opted to invoke it after the club agreed a deal for the wider development land with West Northants Council in March.

They have up until September 3 to make a bid for the land, although the council are under no obligation to accept.

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A Trust statement released on Monday said: “The Supporters Trust is planning a joint venture development for land behind the East Stand at Sixfields which will yield up to £250,000 a year investment benefit for Northampton Town FC.

“The Trust will shortly be presenting its plans to West Northamptonshire Council, which owns the freehold of the 3.61 acres old athletics track land at the stadium site.

“This land is covered by an Asset of Community Value and the Trust has until 3 September to bid to buy the land.

“Full details of the plans will be published next month but the key elements are:-

• Commercial development on the land with a projected annual profit of up to £250,000 to the Supporters Trust

• A joint venture company would be formed to manage and administer the development

• The plan incorporates a flexible business model which will enable matchday commercial opportunities to be maximised, including the introduction of a fanzone

• Profits earmarked for the Trust would be transferred into an infrastructure fund as part of the partnership infrastructure foundation plan we have already introduced.

• Profits from the business will solely be used for investment benefit, improving the infrastructure at the stadium and building the club's asset base.

• The infrastructure fund would be independent of the club but the foundation would identify suitable projects for funding - for example north and south stand expansion."

Andy Roberts, chair of the Supporters Trust, said: "We believe we can present a bold and imaginative plan which will bring all parties together in seeking the best possible future for our football club.

"The possibility that the East Stand may not now actually be completed in the deal being sought by the football club's owners and West Northamptonshire Council is both incredible and completely unacceptable.

"It was on the clear premise of the stand being completed that the Trust backed the CDNL deal in February.

"Any deal involving the football club's leasehold land must result in the stand being finished and our historic footprint of land, as reflected in the ACV registration, protected.

"The subsequent withdrawal of that guarantee, and no subsequent firm reassurance around the completion of the stand, led to the Trust board invoking the ACV in April in order to explore a constructive way forward and to find a better place for the football club."

NOTE: Both the football club and the council have made assurances that the East Stand will be built should the deal be signed off, although a formal legal agreement may now be delayed after private developers Cilldara launched a judicial review against WNC earlier this month.