Posh Ground Upgrade Stalled as Council Dithers

07:07 Monday 28th May 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Let’s start at London Road, and see if we can find out when the ground improvements are going to be sorted out. The Moyes End Stand of course, as we well know, was to be demolished. It should have already started. It should have already been gone. But it isn’t. So what’s going on? Let’s speak to Paul Froggitt. He’s a board member for the Posh Supporters’ Trust. Morning Paul.
PAUL FROGGITT: Good morning to you Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: What’s going on?
PAUL FROGGITT: I wish I knew. And I hope, maybe by the end of today, you might be able to find out. All different stories, the story keeps changing and changing about when the work’s going to start. And nothing seems to be decided. I was a bit surprised by the comment that I just heard, which I didn’t know anything about before, that the Council have said that they’re negotiating with the Club. I don’t really see why negotiations with the Club are necessary. They’ve got to assess a tender and award a tender to the successful contractor.
PAUL STAINTON: Let’s just go back then. This was supposed to have happened already a couple of times, wasn’t it? The stand was supposed to have already been knocked down.
PAUL FROGGITT: Well yes. In fact I’ve got a little synopsis in front of me here, if you’ll give me a minute to read through that, then I think that will explain where our frustrations are coming from. If I can take a moment. This is just my personal involvement this year, never mind going back last year, which is a completely different story. But here we go this year.
6th February, I had a meeting at the Club, and they said the Moyes Stand will stay open till the end of the season, and then demolition will commence.
21st Feb, in response to a query I had, I got an email from the City Council saying we’ve agreed to commence the demolition and new build as soon as the season has finished. Six tenders have been received on 9th February, and the tender clarification meeting will be held next week, and when the contractor is selected, Cabinet approval will be needed by Councillor Seaton.
5th March, a meeting at the Club, Moyes tender will be awarded this week.
2nd April, a meeting at the Club, Moyes tender not yet awarded, but work still on programme to start at the end of the season.
13th April, I happened to bump into the City Council project manager when I was down at the ground, and he said they expected to award the contract in the next couple of weeks.
17th April, the City Council published their forward plan of decisions to be made to August, which you just referred to, and under the heading of May, there is an item saying Moyes End Stand demolition and reconstruction decision to be made. Although in brackets afterwards it then said June. So why it was May and then June I don’t know.
21st April, I think we’ll agree was the last home match of the season.
10th May, I sent an email to the City Council saying have they any more information, and can they be more precise, when the decision will be made. And I’ve received no reply to that email. And that’s about is as far as the information I’ve had. So it just keeps changing and changing and changing, and getting put back. And I think that little synopsis might explain why the fans are feeling so frustrated and want to know what on earth’s going on.
PAUL STAINTON: Well I’m not surprised they’re frustrated, and many have contacted us asking if we can try and find out why it’s getting pushed back and pushed back and pushed back. Because it has a massive impact, doesn’t it, on the Club.
PAUL FROGGITT: Oh it does. They need to .. this new stand, they’ve said will be open by July of next year, and will be ready for the new season. And really, they need to get on and do that, and get this one done, if they’ve got any chance I would have thought of then carrying on and doing the London Road End, which they have to do, to create an all-seater stadium according to the football regulations.
PAUL STAINTON: But you’re saying that the new stand’s going to be built by the end of next July.
PAUL FROGGITT: That’s what they’ve said so far.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s never going to happen now, is it?
PAUL FROGGITT: I wouldn’t have thought so, given the delays. Because that next July date was based on a start of demolition starting a month ago now, and rebuilding starting immediately after that. Well they’re already a month behind that, and they haven’t even awarded the contract yet. In my experience, once you award a contract, there’s ususlly a lead-in time, probably a month before work actually starts.
PAUL STAINTON: Your background is in civil engineering, isn’t it, so you know all about these things.
PAUL FROGGITT: I’ve been involved in lots of tender assessments myself. Yes. So the four months which is the amount of time since the tenders came in, four months to make a decision, is an exceptionally long time in my experience.
PAUL STAINTON: A caller’s been on this morning. He says  “Paul, I got moved out of my seat last year at London Road because they needed it for away fans, as the Moyes End was being knocked down. What a joke this Council is! My worry is that Darragh might get so fed up he’ll leave, because of all the messing about.”
PAUL FROGGITT: Well that’s a scenario that worries us all. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: This ground, there’s no way they’re going to have a new stand built for next July. So that is financially going to impact massively on the Club.
PAUL FROGGITT: Yes. They’ll lose the capacity, two and a half thousand seats, that’s supposed to be in the new stand, if it’s not ready for the start of the next season. Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Well Paul, I know you’re a tenacious investigator, and you’ve tried, haven’t you, to get something out of the Council, and find out when it’s going to start, when it’s going to get knocked down. And you know us. We’re pretty tenacious too. I’ve got three lines on a piece of paper from them. And that is the best we could do. I’m not kidding. We have tried and tried and tried. Here are your three lines.
We are in the process of negotiating with the football club. We cannot discuss these negotiations at this stage as the details are commercially sensitive. We are awaiting response from the football club.
That’s it.
PAUL FROGGITT: Well I don’t understand that. Because ..
PAUL STAINTON: We contacted the club as well, and they didn’t get back to us.
PAUL FROGGITT: I was hoping from the way your programmes usually go that you’d be having someone on from the City Council at 8 o’clock.
PAUL STAINTON: Well if there’s anybody from the City Council who feels that they’ve got what it takes to come on and tell us something, and allow the Posh fans some crumb of information as to what might or might not be happening at London Road. I know many many councillors listen to this show. If you’re in a potion of authority, you work on the Council, and you’d like to supercede the press office and come on and tell Posh fans what the heck is going on atLondon Road, please give us a ring on 315444, and have the good grace to come on and do that.
PAUL FROGGITT: Yes. I was talking to a councillor only a couple of days ago, not one of the councillors belonging to the Conservative Party, the controlling group, but another councillor, and he said that they as councillors have got no more information than we have. He knew no more than we do.
PAUL STAINTON: Well I’m sure there are many listening to this show this morning who do have a bit of power on the Council, and if they can throw any light as to what is going on at London Road, or not going on at London Road, please give us a call and let posh fans know this morning. Because I think they’re getting a bit fed up. And I’m fed up with asking people questions and not getting answers. And we want a few.