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Official Statement - The Stadium

Date: 10/04/2003

The club is disappointed to report that planning permission for the new stadium development at Great Coates is in jeopardy. This week's EGM has been called to allow shares to be issued to ensure the survival of the club. The stadium is separately funded.

Final negotiations over the detail of the 106 legal agreement, which must be signed in order for the Council to grant planning permission, have hit a major hurdle after the landowner announced that it was unwilling to sign the agreement.

As a result, planning officers at North East Lincolnshire Council will be recommending that the planning application be refused when it is considered by the Planning Committee on Friday 11th April 2003.

Since the developer, Chiltern Investment Properties, signed a legal agreement with the landowner (Sir Richard Sutton's Settled Estates) in March 1999, it has always been accepted that the landowner would sign the Section 106, thus binding the site with the legal obligations required by the Council as part of the planning permission.

Planning permission cannot be granted unless the land is bound by this agreement, otherwise it would be possible for the landowner to implement the consent without fulfilling the obligations.

Unfortunately, one of the 50% owners of Chiltern Investment Properties was not willing to proceed with the project. Accordingly, the club decided to take the project forward with Gerald Knight's company GKA, the other 50% shareholder in Chiltern. This required a minor revision of the Section 106, which meant that the Club took over the obligations from Chiltern.

There was no change to the obligations binding the landowner. Nevertheless, the landowner has refused to sign the agreement because of the obligations.The Club and its development partner are now taking legal advice and will be making a further statement next week.

In addition, the Club's development partner is considering making an offer for the purchase of the site. If this proved possible, then it would not be necessary for Sutton Estates to be involved in the Section 106 agreement.

Club Chairman Peter Furneaux said: "We are clearly disappointed to hear that the Council is considering refusal of the planning application but we are determined to leave no stone unturned in out efforts to bring this project to fruition. The new stadium is vital to the future of the Club and we are looking to find a way forward."We recognise that, at the moment, there is not a viable scheme in place but we are confident that, given time, we will be able to deliver the new stadium"

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