Blues boss yet to reveal how stadium deal will bring financial benefits to club

Southend United has lost the financial benefits of the withdrawn cinema and shops plan at Fossetts Farm and it remains unclear how the club will profit from the development.

Blues chairman Ron Martin has yet to reveal the full details.

The landmark deal for the Fossetts Farm stadium was announced at the beginning of the month, with the plan set to bring around 1,300 new homes to the town and a modern stadium with up to 21,000 seats.

But with leisure and shopping developments at the stadium no longer part of the plan, it is unclear where Southend United’s major source of income will now come from apart from the new stadium.

The plan got the go-ahead after Southend Council agreed to partner with real estate firm Citizen Housing and Southend United.

Citizen Housing will build 502 new homes on the former stadium site at Roots Hall as well as about 800 on land surrounding the stadium at Fossetts Farm, but it will be Southend Council that collects the rents on them.

Southend United is expected to benefit from the profits made by the new stadium, which will be funded by the government’s Homes England.

They are also expected to save on the repair costs of the existing stadium.

However, Mr Martin, was asked for further details on the deal from the club’s side but is yet to outline whether there will be any other financial benefits for the club to make up for the removal of leisure facilities such as a cinema and restaurants.

He said it was an extremely complex arrangement which had taken more than a year and a half to put together.

When the deal was announced, he explained this part of the development had been removed following council concerns about the impact it could have on the town centre.

He added: “The collaborative approach achieved with the council, together with our other partners, will deliver a project that I believe the people of Southend will be very proud of.”

Initial plans submitted for Fossetts Farm centred on not only a 21,000 seat stadium, but also residential buildings, shopping, restaurants and a cinema and hotel.

Initially, there was only discussion of having roughly 400 homes surrounding the stadium, but this number has more than doubled since leisure elements of the plan were removed.

It is hoped removing leisure will mitigate any impact on the town centre.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter