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Cllr Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance: "The recommendation of officers to accept the CDNL bid is on balance the most prudent option, and therefore the intended route forward."

11 February 2022

Both the Full Council on Monday 21 February and Cabinet on Monday 28 February are scheduled to consider proposals for sale of land at Sixfields.

Download: Disposal of land at Sixfields document

Last year a possible deal was outlined with County Developments (Northampton) Limited (CDNL), which is owned by Northampton Town Football Club. This proposal would have seen the site sold for £890,000 and included a guarantee that the East Stand at Sixfields Stadium would be completed before the purchase could take place.

The section of land under discussion is bounded by the stadium to the west, Walter Tull Way to the north, Tweed Road to the east and Edgar Mobbs Way to the south.

However, since this potential deal was discussed, a competing bid of £1.8m was submitted by a property developer, Cilldara, for the same piece of land but minus the former athletics track to the east of the stadium.

Cllr Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “With two competing bids, it was a necessary requirement to carry out the due diligence to ensure we gave both full consideration and secured the best possible outcome for taxpayers.”

Both bidders were asked to submit best and final bids which were:
• £890,000 from CDNL, with improvements in the assurance on offer that the land would be bought for the full price but, if the stadium’s East Stand is not completed within five years, the council would have the option to buy the land back for £1
• An increased offer of £2.050m from Cilldara with no additional terms.

Cllr Longley continued: “Land and lease ownership in the area is complex. The council cannot be sure it can end the lease covering the main site without the agreement of CDNL, and there is a risk of expensive litigation if it tries to do so. These risks need to be taken into consideration in reaching a decision.

“It is always necessary to consider not just the monetary value of each offer, but the risks involved in taking forward either. In addition, the final decision must always be based on sound professional advice.

“Throughout this process, the council has taken that detailed professional advice to support the assessment of the value of the land and, following this careful evaluation of the merits and risks of each offer, has concluded that the recommendation of officers to accept the CDNL bid is on balance the most prudent option, and therefore the intended route forward.

“As both we and Northampton Borough Council have previously stipulated, the East Stand at Sixfields Stadium would need to be completed to an agreed standard within five years, and only then would development of the land be possible.

“in addition, as this is a complex issue, with significant historic sensitivities, it is felt vital that all of our councillor colleagues have a chance to discuss it before our Cabinet meeting, through a publicly accessible Full Council meeting that will be live-streamed.”

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