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Stadium won’t figure in next council budget
COUNCIL finance bosses believe work on Southend United’s new stadium will not start for at least another seven months.
Finance chiefs at the Civic Centre are not banking on getting £7.7million as part of the Blues stadium deal and have left the figure out of the council budget, which runs until April next year.
In a report for councillors, head of finance Joe Chesterton said: “The Fossetts Farm project has been removed from the capital programme until the certainty of developer contribution can be ascertained.”
Under the deal agreed by Southend United last year, Southend Council will be paid £7.7million to spend on road and town centre improvements in return for granting planning permission for the new stadium.
The first £3million has been underwritten by Sainsbury’s, which will bankroll the Fossetts Farm development in order to build a new supermarket on Roots Hall.
The first £500,000 will be due to the council from the moment building work starts on the new stadium.
Blues chairman Ron Martin vowed earlier this summer the project would begin this month, but work has still not started.
A new start date has not yet been announced, although club insiders said January had been pencilled in by planners.
Finance chiefs are required to make predictions about expected income so the authority can properly plan for future projects.
However, a club source said the council’s number crunching had no influence on the development.
The club is still waiting for the authority to approve a time extension for its plans.
The source added: “At present, the construction tenders are being analysed with the preferred contractors, and we also await the related planning application to be considered by the council, which we hope will now be soon.”
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