Peterborough United forced to delay new stadium plans

Peterborough United co-owner Darragh MacAnthony has revealed that the timeline for the League One club’s new stadium has been pushed back by a year due to COVID-19.

In February, Peterborough signed an agreement with the city council for a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver a new stadium. At the time, the 2022-23 season was targeted as a potential opening date but the pandemic has forced the club to re-assess this.

The new stadium would form part of a wider city centre development, with the Embankment and other nearby sites under consideration. Peterborough co-owners have spent time looking at stadia in Europe and have spoken to designers and architects as they look to realise long-held ambitions of building a new home for the club.

Peterborough currently plays at Weston Homes Stadium and the club is still in the process of buying the ground while it works on plans to move to a new stadium.

Speaking on his podcast The Hard Truth, MacAnthony said: “Everything’s been put back a little time wise. There’s finance involved, there’s money involved, and there’s a pandemic and a mini recession and the economic impact of that.

“We’re still buying the ground we’re in – that deal’s going ahead. It’s taking time – (co-owners) Jason and Randy are working very hard on that.

“The new ground is still full steam ahead, it’s just been put back a year. But as far as we’re concerned, it’s business as usual. We’re back a step (but) we think those things are going to happen.”

The 15,300-seat Weston Homes Stadium has been Peterborough’s home since 1934. In 2003, the club sold the stadium to a property developer, with the council then purchasing the ground for £8m (€8.8m/$10.2m) in 2010.

The new stadium would have an initial capacity of 17,500 with the potential to expand to 23,000.

Meanwhile, fellow League One club Lincoln City’s plans to expand LNER Stadium remain on track despite COVID-19.

In January, the club submitted expansion documents for the stadium and the work will increase the stadium’s capacity by 1,500 to around 11,650, with seats to be added in the Stacey West Stand.

Lincoln was promoted to League One ahead of the 2019-20 season and LNER Stadium has been boosted by a number of near-capacity attendances in recent years.

Lincoln chief executive Liam Scully told Lincolnshire Live: “The current plan is that we’re ploughing on with the Stacey West expansion. We’re continuing to apply for various funding grants that will aid and support the various funding costs.

“Obviously we have got a slightly uncertain future, but at this moment in time the instruction from the directors is to do as much as we can to continue on the originally planned trajectory.”

Image: Peterborough United