UK Power Networks responds to Stevenage FC chairman’s criticism over North Stand delays

PUBLISHED: 12:06 28 January 2019

Stevenage FC chairman Phil Wallace before the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Exeter City at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stevenage FC chairman Phil Wallace before the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Exeter City at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

UK Power Networks has responded to criticism from Stevenage FC chairman Phil Wallace over the lack of progress in the new North Stand build.

Demolition of the old North stand at Stevenage FC is completed. Picture: Danny LooDemolition of the old North stand at Stevenage FC is completed. Picture: Danny Loo

Work on the 1,428 all-seater stand at the Lamex Stadium stopped back in June last year after it was discovered that the electricity distributor held the lease for a substation on the site – dating back to 1962.

In a December 14 tweet, the club confirmed that a new substation had been delivered and work to switch the power would take place in the coming weeks.

But, in an official club statement on Friday, Mr Wallace hit out at UK Power Networks – claiming they had not showed up at the site to start the work.

“As I write I am once again frustrated by the lack of progress on the North Stand,” he said.

“UK Power Networks were supposed to be on site early January but haven’t shown up so far despite a daily chase, so nothing can get done.

“I am beyond being frustrated with this and I’m not far away from giving up the patient, polite approach we’ve adopted and changing into a completely different animal.”

In response, a spokesman for UK Power Networks told the Comet that the switchover will take place in February and denied that they have not been in contact with the club.

“We have completed our work to build a replacement substation and obtained the necessary legal consents to install the cabling in the past week,” said the spokesman.

“Work to switch over to the new substation will now begin this month.

“We have had regular contact with the club while we have worked to obtain the consents and are doing everything possible to complete the work as soon as possible.”

In Boro’s original planning application architects drew up plans to put a fire resistant chamber around the electrical generator, transmission and distribution system.

This was approved by Stevenage Borough Council before the paperwork error was discovered.

Although the 21-year lease expired in 1983, UK Power Networks insisted that it still has certain rights over the land.

Mr Wallace was hoping for a quick conclusion to the issue back in June last year, writing in an official club statement: “If everyone is sensible this legacy from the past can be resolved quickly – we will be doing everything possible to make that happen with the council and UK Power Networks.”

The club has not given a date for the opening of the stand, which was originally due to be unveiled in November 2018 and has been partly funded by a mini-bond scheme where members of the community were invited to stand “shoulder to shoulder”.

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