The latest meeting of the Northampton Town Supporters Advisory Panel took place at the PTS Academy Stadium on Thursday and we would like to thank all who attended. Kelvin Thomas, James Whiting and Gareth Willsher attended on behalf of the club.
A brief round up of the matters discussed can be found below:
The possible addition of handrails to help supporters climb steps in the stands were discussed with the matter having been brought up by a supporter with pictures of examples. James said it was something the club are looking at, with the need to keep sight lines clear very much part of the thought process.
Safe Standing towards the back of the Sheinman Opticians Stand
James said the club have come up with a feasible solution that has passed the necessary tests and the local Safety Authority are satisfied. A survey was sent out to season ticket holders who sit in that area and the results showed that a majority of those supporters would be in favour of some safe standing at the PTS Academy Stadium. However, other parts of the survey gave mixed results and the general comments made in response to the survey did raise genuine concerns of the risk that the club may lose a fair number of season ticket holders if safe standing was introduced. The current feeling, as discussed with supporters at the meeting, was that maybe another level of consultation, possibly with the wider supporter base, is appropriate in due course.
The Chairman discussed in some detail the process that the club has gone through regarding the development and also showed those present some of the plans for the East Stand that the club have had developed since 2016. He explained he was still reluctant to put these up online until matters were ready to proceed because it will open up debates on the detail of the stand that are simply hypothetical until an agreement is reached.
The current situation is that the club have made a couple of proposals to the council that allow the East Stand to be finished and for the Council to recover some money by sharing enabling development proceeds from the land. He also explained this is exactly what Exeter City had just done with their local Council for their new stand. It continues to be a common sense proposal that sees both parties benefit but he also fully understood and agreed with the frustration that the wheels of progress are turning slower than everyone would like. The club are ready to proceed and the relationship with the Council is still very good. It was also discussed at the meeting the recent money spent by NBC trying to recover the initial loan funds and the Chairman agreed that this probably wasn’t helpful for decisions being made, as they continue to be made under a much higher level of scrutiny than most other decisions.
He also explained that the Board wouldn’t do anything that was not a good deal for the club or anything that would affect the longer term future and sustainability of the club, and whilst it is easy to be emotive on the subject, we have to look at Bury and other examples of clubs who have over stretched, which have had dire consequences. The news that the CDNL land was under club ownership was welcomed by the supporters and the Chairman also went on to explain that there were no strings attached to this transfer of ownership. It was very simple that the club now controlled the land and that any potential income, to be shared with NBC, would come to the club.
South Gravel Car Park
James Whiting explained that we knew the car park was up for sale. We were told in December 2018 that the sale would be completed in January 2019 but it has still not been completed a year on. There is an agreement in place to hire the car park from the new owner when the sale has been completed but we cannot proceed with that until the sale is completed.
After the meeting, we caught up with the Chairman