The Club will be posting regular updates with the launching, shortly, of a micro site for the new stadium.
Ahead of that we will keep fans up to date with progress. This news item gives an overview of where we are at present.
Work is progressing with the demolition of the greyhound stadium. This is projected to be completed by mid-September 2018, but appears to be running a couple of weeks late. The demolition project is the responsibility of Galliard Homes and Merton Catalyst Housing Association, not the Club. Once the demolition work is completed the land will transfer to the Club. Pictures of the work in progress will continue to appear on the official website.
We are still planning to provide CCTV to monitor progress on the Plough Lane site. The cost of providing the facility was beginning to become unreasonable. We have had a rethink but it will be a few weeks yet before it is in place. We will continue to post pics of the demolition work, in the meantime.
The Club continues to work with Scotts (our contractor) to agree details and cost of the new stadium. Once this is completed the overall funding position for the stadium will be clear. Shortly after the completion of the demolition, the land on which the stadium will be built will transfer to the club and construction work can begin. The first stage of the work will be to drive in piles to support the stadium.
The Club is planning a share launch for raising funds to be used for the new stadium. The funding for the bulk of the new stadium will come from our development partner (Merton Catalyst), the sale of our current stadium to Chelsea and a loan from a financial institution.
We are now planning to raise additional funds, to help complete the stadium and pay for additional improvements, if possible. At an earlier stage we were aiming to issue Community Shares, via the Dons Trust, but changes in the tax rules means this is no longer a viable option. Instead, we are planning a crowd funding initiative which will involve issuing new shares in AFCW PLC. After the sale, the Dons Trust Board will own at least 75 per cent of the votes in AFCW shares and, therefore retain control of the Club.
Before a share launch can happen, under the Dons rules we are required to get the support of the Dons Trust. At least 50 per cent of Dons Trust members are required to authorize the sale of further shares. Full details will be sent to members of the Dons Trust in the next few weeks and there will be at least one Special General Meeting. The share issue is of paramount importance and we urge you all to vote in favour when the forms are issued.
Intensive work has been carried out in the last month to prepare an application to the London Borough of Merton for variations to the original planning applications. This process will not affect the approval by the council to the building of the stadium, given in December 2015. The variations are relatively minor and include such things as amendments to the floodlight design, squaring off the radial corners to the main stand and creating some cycle parking within the stadium for non-matchdays.
Environment and Sustainability
The club is in early discussion with the London Assembly and Sustainable Merton to work together on an environment strategy and policy for the new stadium. The intention would be to work together to find solutions to problems, such as reducing usage of plastic. The Dons Trust Board will be looking at the best way to move this forward. It will provide an opportunity for Dons Trust member involvement.
Engagement with Dons Trust members
The Dons Trust Board is clear that keeping members and fans up to date with the new stadium and consulting them on choices to be made on how it will operate is vitally important.
Now that there is progress with the stadium, the Dons Trust Board will be engaging more closely with members over the coming months. The DTB intends seeking feedback from Dons Trust members on the operation of the Stadium and Match Day experience as soon as some of the above action has progressed and possibilities become clearer. The Board will be announcing dates for at least one Special General Meeting in the near future, at which members can ask questions about the new stadium. Others will be held over the coming months when we have more information to give you on the detailed stadium design and we can give you realistic possibilities. We would then be delighted to hear your views and preferences.
The DTB has a Stadium Oversight Working Party, comprising Roger Evans, Colin Dipple and Sean McLaughlin, who are liaising with Erik Samuelson on new stadium matters. In turn, it reports to the full Board at every meeting.
The Dons Trust Board will be giving updates on progress being made as work progresses. A micro site giving regular progress on the development of the new stadium is to be launched shortly. Watch this space for further news.