Plough Lane street signThe Dons are coming home

Today we hear from Sean McLaughlin, who in addition to being the Dons Trust Treasurer, is a member of the Stadium Oversight Committee set up by the Dons Trust Board.

At the September SGM, Erik updated members on progress with the new stadium, and demolition of the old Greyhound Stadium is almost complete. So now is a good time to update you on the activities of the Stadium Oversight Committee (the “Committee”), which consists of Roger Evans, Colin Dipple and myself.

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) has set up five committees to assist in the running of the Board, one of which oversees the development and, eventually, the operation of the new stadium.

The DTB delegates work to each committee, and each committee presents a report at each DTB meeting.

It should be stressed that all decisions about the new stadium are taken by the full DTB, after receiving recommendations from the Committee. The Committee works closely with Erik, who oversees the building of the stadium and its funding, and with Joe Palmer, who is responsible to Erik for planning the operation of the new stadium.

At this stage, the two main responsibilities of the Committee are:

  1. to recommend to the DTB how best to engage with Trust members with respect to the new stadium
  2. oversight of the Football Club Board (FCB) with respect to the building, fitting out and funding of the new stadium.

 

Our initial focus has been on the building and design.

The Committee has had regular discussions with Erik, to review progress and to discuss and agree, subject to DTB approval, the potential additions to the stadium that we might want to consider should sufficient funding be available.

A range of potential additions have been discussed, and a shortlist agreed, which was presented in outline by Erik after the September SGM (we will publish details shortly on the new stadium microsite).

One of the potential additions is a terrace, or safe standing, for the home end. This will continue to be evaluated – but, as noted at the SGM, this would result in lost/repaid grants of around £1 million, plus a similar amount for the build cost of a permanent structure.

Funding

With respect to funding, DT members have recently been emailed about the SGM on 8 November at which we will conclude the voting process for approving the launch of a share issue to raise funds for the new stadium. This process is being led by Mark Davis and Roger Evans. Roger will be providing an update in a forthcoming programme.

Please ensure that you have 8 November in your diary, but do vote as soon as possible via the online link or by using the paper proxy form that has been sent to you.

The most recent meeting of the Committee was on 20 August, when we met with the FCB together with Mott McDonald, the company advising the club on the new stadium contract.

We reviewed the tender from Andrew Scott Limited, who had been commissioned to undertake the detailed design stage of the project. At the meeting, the FCB recommended that we appoint a new contractor for the build phase of the project.

After much discussion, and having been assured that a change would not unduly impact the overall timetable, the Committee accepted the FCB recommendation and agreed to recommend this to the DTB, who then approved the change of contractor, and this was subsequently announced by Erik at the September SGM.

Consultation

We plan to consult DT members on the additions to the stadium build referred to above, and also on ticket pricing, catering options (food and drinks), “dressing” the stadium (recognising our heritage, etc.) and the naming of function rooms and bars.

This is not an exhaustive list, and we welcome the views of DT members and other fans on what other items we should consult on.

Please email us on stadiumquestions@thedonstrust.org (although we cannot guarantee to consult on all your suggestions!)

Timeline

As announced by Erik at the SGM, building the stadium is expected to take 13 months.

We will look to consult on the stadium build options in January 2019, and on the other areas we will have various consultations between January and June 2019.

We would like to stress that no decisions will be taken on the matchday experience for fans before DT members have been consulted.

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