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Premier Rugby Audit
CEintheSun (IP Logged)
24 March, 2012 15:32
Post 2003 World Cup Premier Rugby became very keen to raise standards at Premiership grounds. They introduced minimum standards for championship clubs hoping to gain promotion to the premiership which in many cases are higher than those at grounds of premiership clubs. This double standard could be tolerated for a while but there was going to come a day when PR would have to put their collective foot down.

The roof over the main stand is a known problem. It was condemned several years ago and the quote to remove and replace was over £100,000 then. Although it's not the most dangerous form of asbestos it is still asbestos and has to have special handling and disposal arrangements. I would imagine that quote will be much higher now.

The wiring in the main stand is at its very limit and it desperately needs a complete re-wire.

Premier Rugby were not happy with the size of the changing rooms. Adequate for football but desperately small for 23 big rugby players and all the attendant staff. There was much talk of how to address the issue but no simple solutions - despite putting in more showers and facilities they are just plain too small the no simple way of expanding them.

Even if a solution could be found I would guess it would cost £300,000 or more just to bring those issues up to standard.

Now spending that kind of money on a new bar, corporate facility or such would generate some revenue.

Alternatively you could spend it on players, coaching staff and hope better results/big names puts more bums on seats and generate additional revenues.

However meeting minimum standards is just money spent for no "return".

Then there are the other issues like disabled toilets, stable doors on toilets etc

In the end you have to decide it might be cheaper to pay the fine or move somewhere else.

Now once you've got through the PR Audit you then have to get through the "Ground Safety Inspection" - you cannot open the ground until you have had this inspection and received your safety certificate.

I could tell you tales of getting the ground through that but I won't bore you with it. Let me just say it costs! PAT testing, safety testing all equipment, flood lights down and checked, every seat in the ground checked and repaired where necessary, structural inspection and report, health and safety - this list (and the cost) goes on....

You have to wonder if it would be cheaper to move and let all that effort and expense be someone else's problem, just roll up on the first day of the season and start playing....

It might be the easiest solution however, there's those pesky supporters....

(Apologies my spelling and grammar are atrocious today, blame it on the vino tinto I had with lunch)

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 24/03/2012 16:13 by CEintheSun.

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
Frodo Shark (IP Logged)
24 March, 2012 16:57
Thanks for that explanation.

It would appear from that that there is a very expensive issue with the roof.

Is this "only" a PRL issue? If so, then I can see why it would be a consideration, albeit it still appears that moving to Barton would be replacing one big problem with a significantly bigger one.

Or is it a Local Authority/ HSE H&S issue? In which case I would expect it to apply to Stockport County too, and I understand that they are going to continue to play there.

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
CEintheSun (IP Logged)
24 March, 2012 17:34
For us it is both a PRL and HSE issue. One has the power to fine the other the power to either close the ground or close that stand. As the VIP stand, closing it would cause huge loss of revenue.

For SCFC it would still be a problem but only with the HSE. Same applies the HSE can either insist the stand is taken out of use, close all or part of the ground.

I don't know (or can't remember) the terms of the SCFC lease (too long ago now) concerning repairs/renewals as to whether they or the landlord would be responsible for the roof. If it's the landlord that part of the reason for moving is no longer valid...

Is there a get out clause which says "we said we would lease you the ground but we didn't promise all parts of it would be useable"? I don't know.

Also - can you just ignore all the issues around parking, transport, supporters feelings etc? Moving isn't going to be cost free.

I always favoured the idea of building a long block behind the Vernon Stand (or whatever it's called now). There's enough land. Bottom could be two thirds new changing facilities/refs room/medical and one third a bar for the supporters. Above a whole row of corporate boxes. Problem is a) there is a pinch point at the turnstyles which would make it very difficult to get heavy equipment in and b) getting permission. The corporate boxes and bar would generate the income to justify the new build.

Then the current changing area could be renewed and turned into another bar at that side.

Ah well....

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
H's D (IP Logged)
24 March, 2012 19:28
Careful CE the club take a dim view of anyone attmepting to clarify issues for supporters!(Sm14)
We are but mushrooms....

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
Frodo Shark (IP Logged)
26 March, 2012 10:14
Thanks again CE.

I cannot imagine a lease that would make County fully liable for the cost of the roof. It just doesn't seem in any way equitable.

 Or sensible. Where would the money come from?

Your second suggestion, "get-out clause" does seem more likely. If it's only the stand that's closed they may feel that it's a risk worth taking. If it's the ground, then that may be a more serious matter should that stage be reached.

Your third suggestion sounds much better. The redevelopment of EP. I am hoping that even now, it's not too late for that.

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
Mozzer (IP Logged)
28 March, 2012 13:23
Have just seen your posting elsewhere, Frodo and had missed this thread. Not sure how, but thank you for bringing it to my attention.

I've no idea about any of the legal aspects here from our perspective, but I do know that a new lease was signed with the club when 2015 took over getting on for two years ago (is it 2 years? It seems so much longer than that...). Someone who knows about these things (one of those fans who know much less than people who run clubs) has a copy of it. I'll see if that sheds any light on things from our persepctive.

People will probably know my general views on 'redevelopment' as opposed to 'new', when it comes to grounds.

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
H's D (IP Logged)
28 March, 2012 13:48
The asbestos issue continues to cause a lot of problems for businesses and farmers.
Most have just had to budget for the necessary expense, incur the cost and move on.
Its a problem that has been around for well over twenty years, so it really should have been taken into account long since, even back to when BK bought the stadium.

I can certainly confirm the disposal costs through most disposal firms are very high ( because insulation material is much more dangerous) but those dealing with agricultural businesses tend to be significantly lower (as they almost exclusively deal with safer corrugated sheet asbestos).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/03/2012 13:49 by H's D.

Re: Premier Rugby Audit
Frodo Shark (IP Logged)
29 March, 2012 09:47
Mozzer, as I said in my (sign)post it had dropped a long way down the list, so very understandable that you missed it.

It really does sound as though it's too late to make any difference to us, but then, of course, most of us knew nothing about it, until last Tuesday's meeting.

It might of course be very much of interest to County, ( or it might not) but like you, I don't hold out much hope that a mere fan could possibly have any idea how to read the lease, never mind understand it!

I do however look forward to hearing his opinions.

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