Boston United still searching for new ground after hotel option falls through

Change of scenery? Boston United chairman David Newton says the search for a new home for the club continues with little more than six years left at York Street.

Change of scenery? Boston United chairman David Newton says the search for a new home for the club continues with little more than six years left at York Street.

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BOSTON United’s latest hopes of relocating to a new stadium have been credit crunched.

Pilgrims chairman David Newton revealed at Wednesday’s Fans Forum, held in the Sports Bar, that a deal to build the sports complex alongside an unnamed hotel chain has checked out due to the financial downturn.

“A couple of months ago we thought we were about there, but most companies are reviewing what they’re doing in terms of trading,” Mr Newton said.

“A hotel operator looked like it was becoming a lucrative part of the project.

“Then they revised their room rates and occupancy levels across the company.

“As a result the value of the project comes down and that affects the offer.

“We put the numbers through and it didn’t fit in with what we were doing.”

With Boston United still running in the red – latest figures show a yearly loss of £190,000 in 2011 – Mr Newton is looking to finance the move by bringing a commercial partner to the site, such as a hotel, supermarket or a housing development.

At present, two yet-to-be-unveiled sites have been mooted.

It is believed both options are on the outskirts of town.

The land for both sites are currently owned by Mr Newton’s property development company Chestnut Homes.

In January, the Pilgrims will have six years left on their York Street lease.

Mr Newton admitted he would ‘panic’ if nothing had been set in stone by three years’ time, but he is confident a deal will be struck sooner.

“We will deliver a new ground. It’s just timing,” he added.

“It’ll take a couple of years once we’ve got planning permission (to get things completed).

“I’m sorry if you want answers, but we won’t say anything until we are 99 per cent sure.

“You can never be 100 per cent sure in this business.”

Mr Newton is confident that more commercial opportunities will become available once work starts on a new stadium.

But he is determined to get his action plan correct before laying any further foundations.

He said: “When we’ve put a spade in the ground people come out the woodwork and suddenly want to be involved.

“Getting planning permission is an expensive operation at the moment.

“We wouldn’t attempt that unless we get a robust case because there could always be someone trying to stop you. We’d need a robust case in case we had to go to a public enquiry.”

The club’s approach is vastly different to former owner Jon Sotnick’s attempts to relocate in 2004.

His planning application was described by former Boston Borough Council chief executive Nicola Bulbeck as looking as if it was ‘written on the back of a fag packet’.

It has been suggested the new stadium will include bars, conference centre opportunities and corporate hospitality packages to earn additional revenue for the football club away from matchdays.