Peterborough United is a club that is dear to my heart. I’ve been a fan for 56 years after being introduced to the club by my wife Barbara – it’s where we went on our first date!
So it was a great honour to walk onto the pitch on Saturday ahead of their second home game of the season against Ipswich Town, which they went on to dominate, before conceding an equaliser in the last moments.
Donning my trusty blue and white Posh scarf, I joined the owners of the club to sign a Heads of Terms agreement, which signals the final stages of sale of the ground back to the club, where it belongs.
For those of you unaware of the history, back in 2009 the council bought the stadium and its surrounding land from a property developer to ensure its ownership stayed in the city.
Since then, the city council has unlocked the potential of the surrounding land, leading to the creation of the Allia Future Business Centre and the Vista carbon neutral development which is home to 295 households.
And there is more to come. When the stadium is returned back to the club – hopefully by the end of the year – the council will retain the London Road car park, which will be used to build 82 affordable city centre apartments, through the council’s Meadesham Homes partnership.
As well as generating some really good business and housing developments for this area of the city, the finances stack up as well.
The council has exceeded its expectations in terms of its return on investment from the sale, by generating a hefty £3.9million. Plus, the extra homes and businesses mean we will continue to collect £491,000 a year in business rates and a hefty £2million in council tax.
At a time when every penny counts in the council’s budget, this income is not to be sniffed at and represents a good deal everyone in our city.