Swindon Borough Council has agreed a deal in principle to sell the freehold of the town’s football stadium.
Swindon Town Football Club (namely Swindon Town Football Company Limited) and Swindon Town Supporters (represented by Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd) have been in negotiations with the Council for several months to purchase the freehold, and have agreed to meet the Council’s £2.2m valuation of the stadium set by an independent specialist valuer.
The 50/50 partnership with Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited places the club’s supporters as vital stakeholders in the County Ground’s future.
Once the purchase is complete, it will enable a programme of improvements that will vastly enhance the supporter experience and improve facilities for all within the community.
This agreement will allow the club to grow, become more sustainable and give fans the opportunity to be part of the process through a community share scheme.
The proposed agreement will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet later this month (20th March).
Cllr David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity which benefits the club, the supporters and the town as a whole.
“Not many of these joint ventures exist. Having the Supporters’ Trust as joint owners of the freehold is very important as it gives the fans, who are the lifeblood of the club, a stake in the club’s home and will help to preserve its legacy.
“This deal would also pave the way for significant improvements to the County Ground, which is located at a key gateway into the Town Centre.
“The football club needs to be able to generate more revenue and we hope that if the sale is approved by the Council, success off the field will be replicated with success on it.”
Lee Power, Chairman and Owner of Swindon Town Football Club, said: “Owning your own ground is fundamental to the long-term success of any football club – it will give us the opportunity, going forward, to make this club more sustainable and develop firm foundations in the heart of the community.
“This project, for us, is part of a wider plan to develop the club into one with its own training ground, its own home and the flexibility to decide on its own future in partnership with the people that love it.
“The County Ground was here long before any of us were, and will remain well after we’re gone and it’s important that this deal involves all parties and allows the ground’s legacy to continue for decades to come.”
Steve Mytton, Chairman of the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust said: “We first started talking about this four years ago, and it’s great news that we have finally reached agreement in principle.
“This deal brings not just new hope for the stadium, but can also be a springboard for continued positive relations between the football club and its supporters – especially all the different supporters groups including Swindon Town Supporter’s Club and Swindon Town Disabled Group.
“Hopefully full agreement can be reached later in March, after which we will launch a community-share offer and a crowdfunding campaign that will give every Swindon Town fan the chance to own a piece of the County Ground.”