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Questions & Answers

TrustSTFC put 25 questions on the new stadium to Mark Devlin and he’s attempted to answer them in as much detail as he can at this early stage. Here are the questions and answers:

    1. What provision, apart from the current council project to improve the road link from Moredon to the Great Western Way, is being made to improve road links to the new site? Will there be park and ride to compensate for the inadequate parking on site? Will there be a bus service from the town centre?
The traffic professionals responsible to St Modwen are currently developing their ideas for transport access into the proposed site. If the site was to be developed that will clearly speed up the delivery of the new link road, and St Modwen would be asked to contribute to the road build costs.

    2. If the Shaw Tip site gets snarled up in planning objections etc is there a time limit at which either the club or St Modwens would have to pull the plug and either look for a new site or else abandon the project all together?
There is no pre set time limit, other than to get the proposals to outline planning stage and await the decision.

    3. If the current proposals do not get the go-ahead, is there a "Plan B"?
No. We would all need to go back to the drawing board.

    4. Who will own the new stadium and sports village?
A Joint Venture holding company, whose shareholding is currently evenly split between The Wills Family and St Modwen. The council will also be invited to take a stake, although it is not certain what their stance will be.

    5. Other than improved facilities, how does the club benefit directly from moving to the proposed new stadium?
The actual terms of any facility management agreement have yet to be agreed. However it is envisaged that the club will be able to generate fees for managing some of the other sports facilities, by using club staff and infrastructure to operate these facilities. Likewise any non football and non matchday events, including conferencing, that occur at the stadium will also generate revenue for the club.You should also not underestimate the amount of new revenue that this new stadium will be able to generate compared to the current facilities available to the club.

    6. What will be the effect on ticket prices? Will they be in line with those charged at the County Ground or will they need to rise to pay for the new ground?
The club will continue to price tickets in line with the cash needs of the business. A new stadium does not automatically mean an increase or decrease in prices.

    7. How will the financial structures work in relation to revenues from the broader "sports village" complex being available to fund the club?
As stated above, this still needs to be worked on and agreed. We need to gain approval for the site first before the fine detail is agreed.

    8. Is the building of the new stadium/sports village entirely self-financing or will some of the costs have to be paid off over time? Ie will there be an ongoing debt for the club to service to either the developers or the holding company once the stadium is built?
The new stadium will be self financing, although, as it does at present, the club will be required to pay a rent to play at the stadium.

    9. What will happen to the covenant on the County Ground and will there be a similar covenant on the new site? Have any discussions on this matter taken place with the Goddard Estate?
The Goddard estate have not agreed or disagreed to the current plans. My understanding is that they are prepared to listen to the possibility of the covenant being moved to a new site.

    10. Will there be any opportunity for fans or local businesses to invest in the venture?
Not at the present time.

    11. What plans are there in relation to assets on the current site, such as the Nationwide stand? Will these be sold and if so will any money raised be used to help finance the new ground or put back into the football club?
The club will be able to utilise any assets it owns at the County Ground for use by the club, not necessarily to help fund the new stadium.

    12. If the planned re-development of the County Ground falls through for whatever reason, would the sports village complex also go by the wayside (i.e. are the two developments interdependent)?
At the moment, yes.

    13. Can the new stadium be built while the club is still playing at the County Ground, or does the development of the current site have to start first in order to release funds for the new stadium? If so, what arrangements will be made for a temporary ground while the new stadium is built?

    14. Have St Modwen bought the STPL/Bryant Homes debenture? If not, have they otherwise loaned the club money and if so would they have a similar hold over the club should the joint venture fail in some way?
St Modwen loaned the club the money to satisfy the STPL debenture. This was as part of the forming of a joint venture with the Wills family. As the joint venture is on a strict 50/50 basis St Modwen would not be able to exert a similar control over the club as was previously experienced.

    15. Currently, Swindon Borough Council are the club's landlords at the County Ground. While this arrangement has many problems, it does at least provide some element of "community ownership" to protect the ground from predatory "chancers" coming in to the club with a view to asset stripping the ground. What safeguards would be put in place to prevent such predators moving in on the new stadium, should the Wills family have to sell up their stake in the holding company for any reason?
As it is hypothetical, I cannot answer that one at present.

    16. Is there any provision for the football club (as opposed to the holding company) to have a veto on the sale of the land on which the new stadium stands in order to provide protection against predation in the future?
We would hope that if the Goddard Estate covenant moves to the new stadium site, that this would protect the club in this instance. Again, this is detail that needs to be worked on and agreed.

    17. Which other sports clubs have expressed an interest in the rugby and cricket facilities? If none are forthcoming will this part of the development proceed or be put on hold. Are the other sporting areas to be funded by these sports' governing bodies/ lottery or in some other way?
We have not formally spoken to any other sports or clubs, although I am aware that there is a level of interest from other sporting bodies. The council are keen to see the other sporting facilities developed for the use of the community, so I do not believe that this would cause a delay to the development.

    18. Will the new stadium include safe standing areas? If the current regulatory framework makes it difficult to include safe standing from the outset, will the design allow for some sections to be easily converted once the regulations do allow for safe standing (i.e. design safe standing in so it will be easier and cheaper to convert post-opening)?
The club will be taking further advice on this subject. We have spoken to St Modwen about the possibility of safe standing within a new stadium.

    19. The proposed site of the new stadium has aroused fierce objections from some local residents - with the benefit of hindsight, should more consideration have been made of the likelihood of local residents' objections and could more have been done upfront to head these protests off?
It is clear that any site would raise objections, see the objections raised to a new stadium on the Front Garden, away from residential areas. We have to address the problems and concerns that have been highlighted and incorporate solutions into the final proposals.

    20. Beyond the recent consultation days, are the club and/or St Modwens going to try to meet with the local residents' protest groups to attempt to allay their fears and/or deal with some of their concerns?
No plans to do so.

    21. What discussions have been held (or are planned) with the Great Western Community Forest management and other wildlife groups to negate the loss of wildlife habitat?
None yet.

    22. What energy conservation measures will be incorporated into the new stadium and what savings would these bring year on year? Will this be incorporated at design stage (e.g. in the choice of building materials)?
As with most new developments, the council will expect the new development to be as 'green' as possible, and St Modwen are aware of this.

    23. Will there be adequate provision for a covered area for disabled supporters and their carers?

    24. Do the new stadium plans include any provision for crèche facilities for fans with young children?
Yes, both matchdays and non matchdays.

    25. Will the bloody PA work at the new ground?
No, we will just shout a lot! Yes a new PA system, that actually works, will be incorporated into any new stadium specification.

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Important Information

Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited, trading as TrustSTFC, an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965-78. All references to the ‘Trust’ or TrustSTFC on this site are to the Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited that holds funds, under its rules, for the benefit of the community and not in trust for its members.