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Runcorn Linnets FC - The Ground Project Blog

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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2009 :  18:29:46  Show Profile

Operating the Ground

We occasionally get questions about the nature of the support from the Council, and how the ground will be operated, so it's probably worth outlining the situation to avoid confusion.

The Lease that is mentioned in this Blog is for the land upon which the pitch is situated, and the building that will house the changing facilities, clubhouse, etc, and its surroundings. The Lease isn't for the Ground itself. Once built, the operation and maintenance of the Ground will be the sole responsibility of the club.

What the Council ARE doing

Halton Borough Council have been very helpful throughout all stages of the project, and among other things, they have:

  • Committed to help fund the project by providing up to 100,000

  • Provided advice and expertise regarding the technical aspects of the project

  • Managed the final stages, and drawing together, of the Tender process.

  • Committed to managing the practical aspects of the construction phase on our behalf, including the liaison with Contractors both on and off site.

  • Committed to managing the financial aspects of the construction of the Ground, i.e. the payment of invoices, etc.


What the Council AREN'T doing

As stated above, the club is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Ground. Consequently, there are things that the Council won't be doing:

  • The Council will not be maintaining the playing surface

  • The Council will not be responsible for scheduling matches to be played at the Ground. The Ground will be made available for a limited number of matches for local community use, such as local Cup Finals, etc, and this will be arranged in partnership between the Club and the Council.

  • The Council will not be supplying any operational staff for the Ground on matchdays


To all intents and purposes, the Ground will be the club's to manage as it sees fit. The Lease agreement includes aspects of community use, but this is a mid to long term aim of the club in any case, and we are very happy to encourage local teams to use the facilities for their prestigeous events.

If you have any questions about any aspect of the Ground, then don't hestitate to get in touch via the Contact Us facility.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 07 Dec 2009 :  08:37:44  Show Profile

Important Week

This week is an important week for the club. In addition to the AGM with the associated Board Elections, we hope to hear from the Football Foundation with regard to the success of our application to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

We've had a few queries regarding the application over the last week or so, which we've answered/addressed as appropriate, and we've been informed that the application has gone through the technical review, and has been put forward to the Safety Improvement Panel, which is the final stage in having the application approved.

As mentioned in a previous Blog entry, we expect any successful outcome to be conditional upon the completion of the lease. The Heads of Terms is a document that defines what goes in the Lease, and this has been agreed and submitted with the application, so it's just a legal task to draw the lease up, which is underway, and being done as quickly as possible.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 09 Dec 2009 :  15:51:52  Show Profile

Great News

We've had the excellent news today that our application to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund was successful. The next step is that the Football Foundation will write to make a formal offer, and once we have accepted that, then the deal is ratified, and we can formally place orders, and get the construction process underway.

Thanks to everybody who has contributed to the Ground Fund - without your help then the project would never have got to this stage.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 24 Dec 2009 :  11:49:03  Show Profile

The Offer Letter Has Arrived

Santa came a day early to the Linnets, as the letter confirming the offer from the Football Foundation arrived on Christmas Eve.

This will mean that the orders that the suppliers have been waiting on can be confirmed, and we are all still systems go for the build to start in January.

Merry Christmas!
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 05 Jan 2010 :  15:47:59  Show Profile

Football Stadia Improvement Fund - Funding Confirmed

We've had it agreed today that we can go public regarding the grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

They are supporting the project to the tune of 93,331 for which we are very grateful.

Click here for the full press release.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 19 Jan 2010 :  17:49:36  Show Profile

Latest News

The orders are being confirmed for the different elements of the project (many suppliers have obviously been aware that there's an order in the pipeline). The administrative side of things is well underway with the account having been set up in order to receive grant funding and to pay invoices from.

The first draft of the Lease document, which is the formal expansion of the Head of Terms that was agreed between the club and the Council before Christmas, has gone through a review, and we expect the amended version to be the final one. The Lawyers are being asked to deal with the amendments as quickly as possible, and we are still looking to have the Lease completed and signed within days rather than weeks.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 28 Jan 2010 :  20:09:34  Show Profile

Update

The amended lease has come through today, and once it's confirmed that everybody's happy with this version, then it will be signed.

There was a meeting with the main contractor on site today, and some small issues were clarified. We are waiting for confirmation on delivery times for some of the elements in order that a full build schedule can be finalised, but it looks like work will start on the groundworks next week.

Thanks go to Ste Bignall who met us down on site today to take a preliminary look at the electrics, which he'll be following up on next week.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 01 Feb 2010 :  08:37:07  Show Profile

Lease Signed

On Saturday the Board met and confirmed that the amended version of the Lease should be signed. The documentation was signed, and there's one section that needs to be witnessed by a Solicitor which will happen today/tomorrow and the Council will receive it on Wednesday.

Works on the clubhouse start today, and we are just waiting on the confirmation of delivery dates for some parts of the Ground itself, to enable a continuous plan of works to be drawn up and started by the contractor.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 05 Feb 2010 :  16:16:07  Show Profile

Work Officially Starts on "The Millbank Linnets Stadium"

Work has officially started on the new ground. For health and safety reasons, we'd prefer it people didn't visit the site too much, but as the picture shows the fence posts are starting to go in.




















The official ceremony to mark the start of works took place today and was attended by (left to right) John Hatton (HBC Leisure & Community Services Manager), Alan Jones (Honorary Club President), David Hopley (Managing Director of Millbank Group the new club sponsor), Derek Greenwood (Chairman), and Cllr Rob Polhill (Halton Borough Council's Deputy-Leader).

We were pleased that the deal with Millbank could be concluded in time for the start of the works, and their three year sponsorship, with the possibility of a two year extension, will see the new ground include their name, making it "The Millbank Linnets Stadium".
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2010 :  11:13:32  Show Profile

Construction Continues...

The fence posts continue to be laid, ready for the fence itself to be mounted. Once the fence is in place, it means that the main site will become a proper compound, and then all the works will be contained within that.

We had word this morning that some fence posts had been dislodged overnight, so we've reported that to the Police, and hopefully they will be able to keep an eye open for us on their patrols.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2010 :  14:52:36  Show Profile

Clubhouse Refurbishment

Various items of work have been undertaken at the clubhouse this week. Ste Bignal has been very busy ensuring that the electrics are up to standard - thanks again to him. The main refurbishment of the clubhouse has started today. This will include repairs to the roof, changing room modifications, and the fitting of the kitchen.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 24 Feb 2010 :  16:21:29  Show Profile

Progress

Work has been progressing both on the ground, and the clubhouse, but there's nothing of major interest to report at this point. However, we do have Sammy Phillips taking photos, and you can see them here.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 04 Mar 2010 :  15:39:13  Show Profile

Latest Update

Good progress is being made both inside the clubhouse, and the groundworks too. Visitors to site will have noticed that much of the in-fill panels has gone into the main outer fencing, and the paladin fencing on the clubhouse side is pretty much complete, and is just waiting for gates.

The bases for the turnstiles have been completed, and the turnstiles are currently being fabricated now (they are of galvanised steel construction).

The pitch has been marked out so that we can see where it will be, and it allows everything to be positioned around it. The 2m hard standing around the pitch has been marked out, although we have decided to adjust this slightly to accommodate larger run-off areas around the pitch. This means that in addition to improved player safety, we will exceed both the current and Conference level run-off requirements.

In and around the clubhouse we are seeing progress being made too. Windows in the changing rooms have been bricked up, and repairs to the rendering made. Repairs to the roof and fascias are ongoing, and we've finalised the plans for the kitchen layout. This will involve the creation of two hatches, one into the function room, and one into the outside wall.

The stud wall that is to form the corridor to separate the players and officials from the rest of the clubhouse is in position, and just requires some finishing touches.

The next priorities for the clubhouse are to get the modifications to the changing rooms completed. One issue we are having in this regard is securing a gas supply to the boiler for hot water. As the building has been out of use for a few years, it's apparently not a simple matter of switching the gas supply back on, and so we are working with the Gas people to get that sorted. If it proves that the infrastructure is no longer up to standard, then we have considered the possibility of using propane instead, and have it delivered and stored in a tank rather than get it via pipeline.
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 12 Mar 2010 :  00:17:06  Show Profile

Construction Continues

Construction of the ground is continuing at a pace, and the bases to the paths around the pitch are in, with the cabling placed underneath them. These paths will get a surface layer applied to them, and will also be used as the roadways to bring the stands and floodlights in to minimise any possible damage to the surrounding grassed areas.

The more observant might notice that there is a white line between the edge of the pitch and the edge of the path, and are wondering what that is. That line represents the minimum run-off area that's acceptable for ground grading (1.83m). As you can see we've exceeded that on the goal-line by about a metre, and on the touchline it's exceeded by around 50cm, which means that there's sufficient run-off to accommodate Grade A requirements, which would be required for the Conference (a bit of a way off yet!).
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SteveP
Barmy Army Signals Corp.

2481 Posts

Posted - 19 Mar 2010 :  17:59:50  Show Profile

It's a gas...

While the rest of the constuction continues (the bases for the stands are in, and the modifications to the clubhouse building are continuing at a pace), the project team have been wrestling with solving the seemingly simple problem of getting hot water to the showers.

You might have thought that turning on the gas to the existing gas boiler would be easy, but it isn't. We've had so many issues, that we even considered installing electric showers instead.

However, the solution has been found, and before the end of the month we'll have a tank fitted for the supply of gas from Calor.

The problem has been that although the clubhouse used to have a gas supply, when it was stopped being used as a gym, they turned off the supply to the building, and possibly capped the pipe. Now we've come to want to switch it back on again, nobody seems to be able to find the point in the pipe where the valve/capping has taken place. Despite numerous visits from Transco, etc, nobody could find where the pipe has been blocked off.

The only option that seemed open to us was to hand dig a trench following the pipe until we found what we were looking for. As that might have involved pulling up the Halton Arms' patio, it wasn't something that we were rushing to do.

Even if we could reconnect the pipe to the mains gas supply, there are other problems that would need to be overcome. Firstly the pipe would need to be pressure tested to make sure it hasn't developed a leak since disconnection. If this were to fail, then a new pipe would need to be laid in any case. However, it's apparently no longer policy to allow a junction to be added to the pipe that goes to the Halton Arms, and so it would require a new connection to the gas main that runs in Murdishaw Avenue at a cost of 15-20k!

Even if the pipe were sound and able to be reconnected, which seemed like a very long shot (Transco weren't very happy at the prospect of reconnecting the pipe in the first place), the indications are that it would simply take too long to get a meter fitted for it all to fit into our tight schedule.

The switch to delivered gas, rather than mains, will involve a bit of cost for the tank supply and installation, for the tank (it needs a concrete base, and a bit of fencing around it, plus a pipe to the boiler), and the boiler will need some adjustments and/or modifications to accommodate the alternative supply, but all of this can be achieved in the next week or so without any real difficulty.

Next week should see the delivery of the stands and the floodlights to the Millbank Linnets Stadium so it will look even more like a proper football ground.

Some new pictures have been uploaded to the picture page, but only the most eagle eyed will spot the differences since the previous pictures were taken; the bases for the stands are in, and more work has gone on to hook up the pitch-side utilities. The floodlight bases are perhaps a bit clearer on the latest pictures.
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