Boston United have announced they are set to begin building work on their £11.5 million stadium - as next season looks to be their last one at York Street.
Addressing the crowd at this evening’s Fans’s Forum, Pilgrims chairman David Newton stated that the club have decided to begin building work on their stadium on the south of town, as soon as they receive confirmation of Homes England funding.
The £3.5 million cash injection - applied for in partnership with Boston Borough Council - would see £2.3 million go towards stadium development and the remaining money to the adjacent housing project on the Quadrant site.
With that money secured, United would continue piling work which - along with drainage and electricity installment - has already cost more than £1 million, and begin additional construction.
“After a lot of thought and looking at numbers, subject to the Homes England funding being secured over the next few weeks, we will start work,” Mr Newton said.
“We’re starting because we’re confident the other funding will come through.
“If we wanted to build the stadium in three years’s time I’d have no issue with that as we’d have all the money available.
“But we think, we’ve played around with it, and think we can start.”
Another reason for the club to begin work on the stadium is because they want to begin playing there in the 2020-21 campaign.
The Malkinson family, owners of the York Street ground where the club have played since their inception in 1933, have agreed to extend the lease for next season.
But with United aware of their landlords’s desire to sell the stadium, they have decided to take the plunge with their new home.
“We have renewed the lease on York Street for the coming season,” Mr Newton added.
“It’s 99 per cent certain it won’t be renewed again. All the way through we’ve been relying on the Malkinson family and they’ve been great.
“We had to go to them again this year and say we need a new lease and understandably they were not too happy.
“If they get a buyer for the ground they won’t renew the lease again and I don’t want anyone to think bad of the Malkinsons, they’ve done really well for us.
“We have a good relationship with them and this club wouldn’t be here without them, but they’ve got an asset they want to sell. It’s business and we accept that.”
When United announced their plans for the stadium and adjacent sportshall, business sites and housing in November 2013, the projected cost was £8.5 million. That has since risen to £11.5 million.
If further funding requests are not granted, then the club will phase their construction, with the ground the priority and sportshall development to be staggered.
Burger King, Greggs, Costa Coffee, a Travel Lodge and a pub/restaurant and possible second coffee shop have bought or agreed to buy land on the site.
It was announced Turnbull & Co Ltd will have akitchen and bathroom showroom nearby while an unnamed petrol station is also in talks to move to the site.
Mr Newton also told the forum that, if construction was not completed in time for the start of the 2020-21 season, the Pilgrims may have to consider groundsharing.
“We have to have a lease in place each season by March and we’ve just renewed it. It was a bit squeaky bum but we did manage to get ith through,” Mr Newton added.
“The aim will be to be in the new stadium at the start of the 2020-21 season, the season after next.
“We can’t start straight away, once we place orders we’ve got a couple of months, three months, before we get steelwork up.
“The aim will be to get a ground we can play at for that following August.
“We will monitor the progress. If there was any doubt then we’d have to groundshare for that following season. We’ll do our utmost to avoid that.
“We’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve already started the stadium.
“Please be patient, we are doing our best and trying to start an £11.5million stadium for the club out of thin air.”