The board wishes to keep supporters and everybody involved at the club fully informed as to developments at St James Park. This is the latest update of Monday 2 September.
Following the fire in June that destroyed the clubhouse we have had two key work-streams. Firstly, to get a new clubhouse built as quickly as possible so that supporters can once again enjoy a social facility. This is a major undertaking with significant capital costs and is a medium to long term project. It has included engagement with our insurers and their assessors so that the insurance settlement can be finalised. It involves architects designing a new build, planning permission being sought and then the works of demolition and building, all to take place while the club has to continue to operate. The insurance claim is not yet settled but we hope that this is now close. The work of the Stand Together campaign to raise additional funds to support the re-build continues and will contribute to enhancing the new clubhouse facility.
We have now appointed architects to take this work forward. Nick Price is an experienced local architect. We have asked Nick to undertake several design possibilities, including both one and two storey buildings. The final design to be taken forward will depend upon a number of factors including of course the funds available which as yet is not known. As a club we are ambitious and wish to make the very best provision for supporters and for wider community use that we can bearing in mind both current and future needs. However, we have to balance ambition with financial prudence and no decisions will be made that put at risk the long-term future of the club.
The second piece of work following the fire has been to put in place temporary provision to get us through the difficult months ahead. Supporters have shown understanding and patience in the immediate aftermath of the fire and during these early weeks of the season. The temporary bar arrangements have worked well and thanks must go to our bar staff who have laboured under difficult conditions to provide a service for supporters. We have also pushed ahead with the cabin at the front of the ground so that we have usable space for a temporary ticket office and club shop, and hospitality for visiting officials and directors, a requirement of the league. Enormous energy went into this work to have it ready for the start of the season.
The next phase is to construct a large canopy to provide supporters with greater protection from the elements. This canopied area will run from the end of the main stand along to the food outlet and provide cover for the full depth of the hard standing to the edge of the pitch. It will be high enough not to impede the view of the pitch for spectators in the stands. When the new clubhouse is ready, this canopy will no longer be required, and it has been designed in such a way that it can be re-located to the opposite side of the ground to provide sheltered standing accommodation there, in the long term enhancing facilities. Work on the canopy is ready to begin this week with the footings going in. This will not affect facilities for spectators at the game versus AFC Telford.
We will continue to keep supporters updated on the plans and progress in taking them forward. Together we will come through these troubling times as a stronger club and with improved facilities at St James Park. Thank you for your continued support at a difficult time for our football club.