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 Thursday 12 September.
The fire in June that destroyed the clubhouse has created serious challenges that the club is working to resolve. This involves temporary measures so that the club is able to continue to operate and taking forward plans for the permanent replacement of the clubhouse with a facility that we hope will not only match what we had but improve upon it. We set out the scope and nature of this work in an update of 1 September and now are able to make a further, significant announcement, about the development of St James Park.
Before the fire, the club was already developing plans to develop St James Park further. We have sought to do this year on year through both major projects, such as building the new changing room block some years ago and installing an automated pitch irrigation system more recently, to smaller projects such as establishing a second tea bar and installing new dug-outs. The club is ambitious, Kevin is seeking to take the first team into National League, Step 1, and, if we were to make that leap, we would want to establish the club at that very top level of the non-league game. Enhancing facilities at St James Park, creating the infrastructure to host matches with large numbers of visiting supporters on a regular basis and ensuring a top level playing surface are important priorities in supporting Kevin in this ambition. They are also vital if the club is to be able to fulfil our community vision of growing the range and extent of community activity at the club including girls’ football, disability sports and engagement with vulnerable groups building on our award-winning Saints Community Project.
We are determined not to allow the loss of the clubhouse and the significant challenges arising from it to stymie the wider development of St James Park. While the insurance settlement following the fire is still awaited and plans for a new clubhouse continue to be developed, we have at the same time sought to advance broader plans for St James Park.
Today we have received confirmation of the award of substantial funding in the form of grants from among others the local authority, South Northamptonshire District Council (SNDC). This means we can announce that the club can now proceed with a number of exciting ground developments.
Councillor Phil Bignell, South Northants Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for planning, commented, “We’re pleased to be able to give this grant of £150,000 to the club to help support their sporting endeavours and provide a wider benefit to the Brackley community alike.”
In summary the developments include: the construction of two stands each accommodating 150 seats to be located either side of the dug-outs. The provision of this additional seating will facilitate the removal of the seats in the St Neots stand turning this into a terrace behind the goal at the AGP end.
We will construct a short stretch of covered terracing at the cricket ground end accommodating 200 spectators. Further, we will install an additional toilet block, re-locate the main tea bar and construct a bar in an area we will call The Fanzone. This will be located behind the media tower. The design and fencing arrangements will allow segregation for future games as required.
The board is excited to announce these plans and grateful to SNDC for the support to take these forward. Preliminary works will start immediately with some aspects due for completion by mid-November. We will continue to keep supporters fully updated on progress with these ambitious plans.