Greenwich Borough launch stadium plans at former Gaelic football venue in New Eltham - EXCLUSIVE
GREENWICH BOROUGH chairman Perry Skinner has outlined plans to bring the club back to their roots and has projected the club to be playing in the top flight of non-league football within five years.
The club lost their modest Harrow Meadow ground in Eltham back in 2009 and have played their games in Bromley (at Holmesdale FC) and Dartford since then.
In June 2013, a major investor, DGS Marine, made a commitment to invest in the club, securing a deal to share Dartford’s Princes Park Stadium and target promotion from the Southern Counties East Football League up to the National League by 2020.
Greenwich Borough is a Limited Company with three main directors and Mr Skinner has revealed that the club are on the verge of coming back home.
The club has earmarked the former ground of The Gaelic Athletic Association Sports Ground at 132 Avery Hill Road, Eltham, London SE9 2EY.
They have submitted an Outline Planning Permission to The Royal Borough of Greenwich in recent weeks to build a new stadium but is facing a battle with Lindon Homes, who want to build a housing estate at the venue, which hasn’t staged Gaelic football since 1992.
Nilesh Vadgama, of Woolwich based surveyors Martin Arnold, said in his report to the council that they “support this application for outline planning consent to provide a sporting hub for local community use on the site, which is currently owned by the Gaelic Athletic Association.
“Whilst the site has remained unused for a number of years it is designated for sports and playing fields by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and a community open space. Therefore would be suitable for a sporting hub/facility to fall in-line with its designation for use by the local community.
“Greenwich Borough Football Club 2013 Ltd have also secured the interest of a consortium of investors to purchase the site from the Gaelic Athletic Association and a decision is awaited.
“Greenwich Borough Football Club’s vision is to return to the Royal Borough of Greenwich and become a hub for healthy communities. They have visited and assessed a number of sites within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. One of the key considerations is to find a suitable site within the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
“The Gaelic Athletic Association site is considered to be highly suitable in terms of its size, location and transport links. The sites location and the available land is ideal to meet the vision and make a real contribution to the local and wider community.
“The initial design brief is to provide two 11-a-side 3G football pitches to allow the club to provide suitable facilities for the Greenwich Borough first team, under 21s and Academy.
“One pitch will be a stadium pitch with Arena terracing and seating to meet the league’s criteria in-line with the club’s progression. Both pitches will have a 5m high fence with column mounted floodlights.
“Both pitches will allow essential revenue to be generated for the club to sustain this facility. In addition to the pitches this will require the provision of an access road, associated car parking, changing facilities, biodiversity garden and landscaping mounds and sub-station for services.
“The car parking and changing facilities will be provided in two stages. The first stage will involve a temporary parking area and changing facilities, allowing revenue to be generated straightaway.
“The second stage will be to remove the temporary parking and replace this with a permanent car parking area closer to the access road. This will also involve replacing the temporary changing facilities with a permanent facility, which will include turnstiles, admin/ticket offices, café and recreation area.
“It is anticipated that enabling works will start in March 2016, which will be Stage 1 as mentioned above. Construction works will start May 2016, which will be Stage 2 as mentioned above.
“Public transport access to the site is good with New Eltham main-line station within 0.5 mile walking distance and two bus stops directly outside the site entrance. There are also a good selection of local shops within New Eltham.”
The club have now secured the backing and support of 10 private investors who will jointly provide the funds to purchase the site.
Chairman Mr Skinner admitted this weekend that finishing in fourth-place in the Southern Counties East Football League last season was “a bitter disappointment big time,” as they provided a “Ryman Premier League budget” to progress into the Ryman League.
The club have submitted a cash-flow forecast to the council that shows that they do not intend to stay at their current level of football for too long as their new stadium will be improved year-on-year as they rise through the leagues.
The club have told the council that they plan to stay in the Southern Counties East Football League for one more season.
They plan to get out of the Ryman League Division One North and Ryman Premier League at the first attempt, before spending two seasons in the National League South, before reaching the National League in season 2020-21.
These projections have been published in their surveyors report to the council:
Year 1 – August 2015/July 2016 Southern Counties East Football League
Costs for surveys and enabling works have been programmed for the beginning of 2016. This will facilitate the construction of the access road, first 3G pitch and temporary facilities to serve the pitch. This will enable the 3G pitch to be completed and commissioned by August 2016.
Forecast Operation costs have been included for the 2015/2016 season.
Income generated from admissions and other football related revenues are included at this stage and have been based on the forecast attendance for the season.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 1 including interest payments: -£1,261,283.39
Year 2 - 2016/2017 Ryman North
No construction works are programmed in the second year. There are three months of design work for the first team’s main 3G pitch and changing facilities.
Operating costs include the forecast club costs and the operational 3G pitch.
An income stream from the first 3G pitch is included in the second year. Income generated from admissions and other team revenues have been forecast based on the attendance levels.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 2 including interest payments: -£1,358,797.18
Year 3 – 2017/2018 Ryman Premier
It has been assumed an accelerated procurement route will be used to procure the project. The design costs continue into the construction phase (year 3) of the contract to illustrate the overlap of design and construction in this type of route.
The construction phase commences again during the third year including the following remaining elements:
• 3G pitch (first team) • External services including substation • Arena terracing (Sacrificed) 500 • Arena seating 250 • Permanent parking • Permanent changing facilities • Biodiversity gardens • Prelims • Design • Contractor's OH&P • Contingency expenditure
Operating costs have been uplifted to account for the increased costs associated with the club’s promotion. The two 3G pitches operation costs have been included upon completion of the construction and commissioning of the facilities.
In addition to income generated from the football revenues, the two 3G pitch’s revenue has been included.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 3 including interest payments: -£3,636,905.72
The cumulative balance has significantly decreased due to construction costs in year 3.
Year 4 – 2018/2019 Conference South
Installation of Arena seating (150 capacity) has been programmed in Year 4 to comply with league capacity requirements, including contractor’s OH&P.
Increased operating costs associated with promotion are included and the operation costs of the 3G pitches continues.
Increased revenue from the attendance forecast for the Conference South are included and the 3G pitch’s income continues.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 4 including interest payments: -£3,633,884.85
The cumulative balance remains at around the same level as the previous year due design costs for the final stage of construction being included within the year.
Year 5 – 2019/2020 Conference South
Construction costs for the final stage of the master plan are programmed in year 5. These include:
• 500 seat capacity stand including function room, dining area and bar • Remove sacrificial stands • Prelims • Design • Contractor's OHP • Contingency expenditure • Additional Arena 100 capacity seating
The costs of operating the 3G pitches remain constant. Risk has been included in terms of the club’s targeted promotion – in year 5 the cash flow allows for remaining in the Conference South for an additional year.
Income levels remain as per the previous season.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 5 including interest payments: -£4,460,362.64
The cumulative balance has decreased significantly due to the final phase of construction
Year 6 – 2020/2021 Conference Premier
The remaining 6 months of the second stage of construction take place in year 6. Construction of the infill stands and facilities begins in the second half of the year/season.
Operation costs have increased to reflect the forecast figures associated with the team’s promotion. 3G pitch operating cost remain at the same level.
Revenue includes an uplift to 1200 attendance and income from the new facilities upon completion of construction (February). 3G pitch revenue remains constant.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 6 including interest payments: -£4,724,219.45
The line graph in the report illustrates the impact of the final stage of construction costs and the subsequent rise due to the income generated once the mixed facilities have been completed.
Year 7 – 2021/2022
Construction of the infill stand and facilities continues to provide increased capacity and attendance for the following season.
Operating costs remain as forecast for the previous year; £35,625.00/month including 3G pitches and club costs.
Revenue generated from the 3G pitches, the new club facilities and the increased capacity is forecast at £95,568.00/month.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 6 including interest payments: -£4,640,614.58
The cumulative balance is decreasing at an average of £5,210.16 /month. This is due to the revenue generated exceeding the operating costs and interest payments.
Year 8 – 2022/2023
Final stages of the infill stand are completed in year, therefore there are no construction costs in year 8.
Operating costs forecast have increased on the previous year to£39,062.50/month including 3G pitches and club costs.
Revenue generated from the 3G pitches, the new club facilities and the increased capacity is forecast at £ 115,152.00/month.
Cumulative Balance End of Year 8 including interest payments: -£4,018,120.71
In year 8 the cumulative balance begins to decrease at a greater rate each month as the interest payments reduce on the cumulative balance. The balance is reducing at an average of £47,684.40 /month.
Chairman Mr Skinner told www.kentishfootball.co.uk: “We had a meeting on Friday. Lindon Homes are after the same plot of land but we’ve had a meeting with Greenwich Council and the Planning Department at Greenwich who support our project because it’s supposed to be designated sporting playing fields.
“Where Lindon Homes have come on board, they’ve said we’ve had no interest in 20 years and they’ve got a covenant to build homes there, which until we got involved which was about six months ago they would have had a clear playing field but we’ve “We’ve put a spanner in the works and they’re fully aware that we’re serious competitors for that plot of land.
“We’ve put an Outline Application into Greenwich Council, which has been done by Martin Arnold, the surveying firm in Woolwich, so we’ve got an application online on the Greenwich Planning Application site now so things are looking very positive.
“Things are looking very positive.”
The Greenwich Borough chairman has put pressure on manager Ian Jenkins to deliver the goods on the pitch.
The club finished in fourth-place in the table and won two pieces of silverware with the Kent Senior Trophy and League Cup.
Mr Skinner made his aspirations clear, saying: “100%, it’s promotion so there’s no other ambition in the club next season other than to get promotion. What we pick up on the way will be classed as a bonus.
“The only thing we want to win is the league next year. The ambition of the club is we’ve got to have it. Where we’re going off the pitch, on the pitch has got to match it.”
To read documentation on Greenwich Borough’s plans visit:
Visit Greenwich Borough’s website: www.greenwichboroughfc.co.uk