AFT STATEMENT ON HHP DEVELOPMENT
The AFT is concerned to learn of a new, potential delay in the planning application for the Grandstand and Higher Home Park.
We will continue to monitor closely the progress of the application and subsequent development, especially as it might impact on the Asset of Community Value status which the Trust obtained last year to protect the future of Home Park.
The AFT is supportive of any redevelopment that is first and foremost in the interests of Plymouth Argyle Football Club and its fans.
We ask our members to continue to let us have their views so that we can best represent these to the Club.
Meeting with James Brent and Martyn Starnes
Below are questions poised by fans and members – together with the answers. This is followed by points from general conversation that followed.
NOTE: The Grandstand dates mentioned here are now likely to change given the news about the planning application delays.
Why can’t the club use a shirt supplier that can make more shirts quicker. Can they put pressure on the current supplier to make the making of our shirts a priority?
A. Our shirt supplier is one the major sports brands in the world. The products they supply are of excellent quality and they have been extremely reliable compared with other manufacturers with whom we have experience. Orders have to be placed for shirts before the end of January each year and we therefore have to estimate the quantities we will sell at that time. Pressure is clearly applied to the supplier to produce our shirts as quickly as possible but the factory in SE Asia has a production schedule and we have to take our place in the queue.
Could you explain why on the first home game of the season there were no or very few club shirts in stock both home and away? This is the second year this has happened.
A. We had a stock of home shirts in the shop in all sizes at the start of the day. However, we did run out of XL’s before kick-off. Another drop of home shirts was scheduled for September and this has now been brought forward. We ordered 50% more away shirts than we usually do but demand has been extraordinary. A further order of 1200 shirts has been placed and these will be airfreighted to us once they have been manufactured. Production schedules at the factory mean they will not arrive until the last week in November.
I know a lot of fans who have lost loved ones over the years me included who were Argyle fans all their lives who want their wishes to have their ashes to be laid at Home Park maybe in a garden along side the ground. Can we get this done soon as I have ashes of relatives who past 8 years ago and I know of many others. Please can you get something done because it was their wish as life long Argyle fans?
A. The plan remains to include a memorial garden at Home Park where ashes of loved ones can be laid to rest. This is likely to be on PAFC land in Zoo Field behind the Barn Park end; supporters will be consulted on both the location and layout. We will move this forward as rapidly as we are able and thank supporters for their patience. Meanwhile, we have placed a small facility at the back of the Mayflower stand.
Why aren’t the seats, in the Lyndhurst and probably other parts of the ground, cleaned before the start of the season? We used a whole pack of 25 wet wipes to clean 4 seats at the first home match – they were absolutely filthy. Surely this should be part of cleanliness, good housekeeping and maintenance of the stadium. A very small gripe in the scheme of things. A. All seats should have been cleaned before the start of the season. It’s disappointing to receive a report that there were dirty seats in the stadium. It’s unacceptable and will be addressed.
Can you explain exactly how and when the Football Club will now benefit financially and in terms of the use of the land from the proposed commercial and ice rink development on the Higher Home Park land? A. The HHP land was sold for cash at full value (as determined by the District Valuer) in March 2012. All the cash was invested in PAFC. Aat the same time (and in addition to the full value received) the Club entered into a profit share agreement with the owner of HHP. The terms of this profit share agreement were summarised at the time in the attached press release.
PAFC also benefits from Akkeron Group bearing significant professional costs which would otherwise have been bourne by the Club and also the costs of the Development Director and support staff.
If approved by the Council later this year can you set out the anticipated completion of work programme for the Grandstand and associated facilities? As the proposed (Far Post Club replacement) supporters bar, new club shop, new ticket office and toilets are separate structures from the Grandstand can they be built independently and at the start of the development programme so supporter facilities are enhanced at the earliest possible stage?
A. The planning application has been submitted. The Grandstand and associated facilities are scheduled to be completed by the end of the 2018/19 season, assuming that planning consent is received in Autumn 2017. The stages of the development is still being worked on by the professional team. The facilities that your suggest (plus new control room, player changing facilities and media/class room) will all be built early in the programme together with a temporary replacement for the Green Taverners’ suite. The bar facilities will initially be used for sponsor, corporate, board hospitality to free up the same in the Grandstand.
Would the chairman reconsider his plans for Higher Home Park and allow the club to buy this land back. I believe that any development on this site should be for the sole benefit of the club, as well as allowing us the space to eventually develop a modern 21st century Grandstand. I believe that PAFC owning HHP would be hugely beneficial for the long term prospects of the club and eventually provide a generous source of non match day income.
A. Part of the HHP land has always been committed to the delivery of a new ice arena for the people of Plymouth. This commitment remains. The Chairman would be willing to sell the residual land back to the Club at fair value but it is unlikely that the Board would wish to proceed with the acquisition given the other opportunities to invest in the Club.
The pledge was that the grandstand would be built without charge, or the club would get 50% of any windfall profit. How is that pledge going to be fulfilled in light of the present plans?
A. The simple answer is – the agreement was signed in March 2012 and remains in force as a legally binding agreement.
General points – some of which were based on the questions above:
Shirts – The issue of sizing may be due to a change of manufacturer by Puma. We discussed the possibility of being supplied with a blank ‘pattern’ for each size so fans could try for size prior to pre-ordering.
Website/Ticketing – It was requested it contains more general information and advance notice of 2nd team and youth team fixtures. A charge of £2.50 was confirmed for ticketholders to swap seats.
Grandstand Redevelopment – Expected to start January/February 2018.
Terracing – PAFC are talking to the EFL about this and it appears the Premier League is starting to be supportive but it is still years away.
Training Facilities – Despite recent improvements to Harpers Park better facilities are still a priority. PAFC are looking for additional space behind the proposed Memorial Garden for a 4g and 2 grass pitches at a commercial rent.
Board of Directors – There may be further changes in future.
Catering – Pre-pouring should be happening.