The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its regular monthly meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Thursday, November 10. (You can read a summary of an additional meeting held earlier in November.) Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points that were discussed.
The meeting was joined by the club’s stadium consultant, Andrew Williams, who along with club chief executive Erik Samuelson gave the DTB an update on the project. Trust members will be able to see a slightly edited version of Andrew’s presentation at the Trust’s forthcoming AGM, scheduled for Thursday, December 8, but the main headings were:
- an update on the planning process – the current aim is to get the Section 106 agreement signed off by the end of December
- a design update on the ‘first phase’ configuration – the detailed design work will be carried out in the first three months of 2017
- the overall construction schedule – site clearance is currently scheduled to start in May 2017, once existing tenants have vacated the site, with construction work on the stadium due to start in early 2018 and the first competitive fixture in August 2019
- an update on the latest projected costs – it was confirmed that the former Mayor of London Boris Johnson temporarily calling in the project had added around £1m to overall costs due to the impact of construction inflation during the period of delay, with the delay also costing the club lost potential additional income with the stadium not opening on the date originally envisaged
- the detailed business plan – the ‘best-case scenario’ business plan had originally been prepared on the basis of the club being in League One but will now be amended to be on the basis of the club being in the Championship; the ‘existing-case scenario’ and ‘worst-case scenario’ business plans will also be updated
After Andrew had left the meeting, Erik gave an update on preparation of the club’s annual statutory accounts, with Sean McLaughlin also updating on progress with the Trust’s statutory accounts. Both reported that additional workload had been caused by the introduction of new financial regulations that, although not targeted at organisations such as our club, had necessitated transferring the accounts for both into a new template.
After briefly considering arrangements for the forthcoming Trust AGM, the meeting then focused on other business, including discussing how to word statements about the forthcoming Checkatrade Trophy tie against Brighton & Hove Albion and other organisational matters, such as preliminary discussions about arrangements for the home game against Millwall.
The DTB also commended the progress being made by youth development coaches Rob Tuvey and Michael Hamilton, who were mentioned in Erik’s written report submitted ahead of the meeting, with both currently completing the UEFA A Licence course.
Erik’s written report also touched on the growth of AFCBay, rounded up the latest youth player arrivals and gave an update on the pitch, which is withstanding the demands placed on it following the work done on it this summer.
Present from the Dons Trust Board were: Tom Adam, Matthew Breach, Mark Davis, Colin Dipple, Roger Evans, Nigel Higgs, Jane Lonsdale, Sean McLaughlin and Matt Spriegel. Apologies were received from David Growns.