A decision on a land deal for the redevelopment of League Two football club Northampton Town’s Sixfields stadium has been deferred by West Northamptonshire Council.
Ahead of last night’s meeting, Town announced that it had made an improved offer to the council for land next to the stadium to satisfy the council’s stated objectives for the project. Plans had been in place for the council to sell the former landfill area around Sixfields to the club for £890,000 (€1.1m/$1.2m).
The club’s new offer included an agreement to match a payment of £2.05m from property developer Cilldara, which recently submitted a bid for the land. Town’s offer also included a provision that ownership of the stadium’s athletics track be transferred to the club following completion of the deal.
Northampton revealed designs for a proposed redevelopment of Sixfields’ East Stand in June last year. The project will increase the capacity of Sixfields, which is officially known as the PTS Academy Stadium, to just over 8,000.
Northampton had explored a number of options for the design of the stand before deciding to enhance the existing structure instead of making major changes to the stadium footprint.
It is hoped that adding boxes and hospitality areas in the East Stand will enable the club to increase both its commercial revenue and the value proposition for existing and new partners. Space for a fan zone project behind the new East Stand has also been earmarked.
The offer announced yesterday states that the club is still required to complete the East Stand project. At a meeting last week, councillors discussed the Cilldara bid and a decision had been due to be made at a follow-up meeting last night but this did not prove to be the case.
BBC Northampton journalist Jake Sharpe reported last night that the council hopes to reach a decision this month.
Ahead of the meeting, Northampton chairman Kelvin Thomas said: “The football club feels that the original agreed and officer recommended deal is still the club’s preferred option and the club remains happy to proceed on this basis, however the club has listened and gone to great lengths to put forward an improved offer which more than satisfies all of the council’s stated objectives.
“We feel by improving the offer we have taken the pressure off the decision for the cabinet and we also take away the risk of losing the deal to outside developers, or it being delayed further. Those risks are just too great for the club, our supporters, and the Northamptonshire community whom we work closely with.
“The club’s offer is now far superior to any other offer, not just in financial terms, but also in reducing the risk of lengthy and expensive litigation and of course all the community benefits that come with it. This really is a win-win for the club and the council.”
Northampton has 100% ownership of the CDNL company, which controls the leases to approximately 22 acres of land next to the stadium. The club had not officially controlled this land prior to its announcement last June.
Image: Northampton Town