Council delay stadium rent increase

STEVENAGE Borough Council has announced it will delay the compulsory increase in rent to Stevenage Football Club following the club’s promotion to League 1.

Under the terms of the lease of the council-owned Lamex Stadium, Stevenage were due to pay an increased amount in rent from this season owing to their rise into the third tier of English football, but the council have reaffirmed their commitment to helping the club secure its long-term objectives by agreeing to delay the increase for an undetermined period.

The proposal will save the club approximately �200,000 over the next “few years”, and this sum is effectively the council’s contribution towards improving the stadium.

Chairman Phil Wallace has submitted a planning application for the development of a new North Stand which is currently going through the normal planning process. The council has said all along that it is unable to contribute to the project, which is estimated to cost �1.25million, as the funds simply aren’t available.

However the �200,000 waiver will certainly help towards the project as the club are hopeful 50 per cent of the cost will be funded by a Football Stadia Improvement Grant (FSIG) from the Football Foundation – the UK’s largest sports charity which is financed by the Premier League, The FA and Government.

The North Stand development is just one of Wallace’s plans to improve the club in the near future, though.

He announced last month that he had bought the 40-acre former BAE Systems sports ground at Bragbury End to provide the club with a state-of-the-art training facility, while there has also been ongoing maintenance work being carried out at the stadium to bring it in line with Football League regulations.

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Councillor Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, says she is pleased the council is able to help the club following Boro’s back-to-back promotion success.

“Like almost everyone in Stevenage, we are extremely proud of our football team’s achievements over the past two years,” said Cllr Taylor.

“The improvements to the ground are befitting for a League 1 team, and the council has worked with the club to make them possible.

“On behalf of the council, I offer congratulations to Stevenage Football Club and wish them every success for the season ahead.”