THE board of directors’ number-one priority is to secure the leases with Herefordshire Council to procure development of the Blackfriars and Meadow End development with the security of a long stadium lease.

We have worked for the past seven months with our solicitors and advisors and, while this project has taken longer than expected, a six-hour meeting on September 9 seems to be bringing the process to a conclusion with many points agreed.

The delay has mainly been caused by a change to the way the leases are to be created to avoid any future tax liabilities. We believe this is now resolved.

The club will now enter into three separate leases for 30 years with the right to extend these to 250 years on the disposal of any of the development land at either end.

Previously, we would only enter a 30-year lease on the development land when a developer was identified.

We hope to now complete the drafting to engross these documents around mid-November.

I have also been dealing with existing telecom- operators leases to provide us with a free and unencumbered site on disposal of the development land.

As previously reported, we have draft schemes for a 2,000-capacity covered standing terrace at the Meadow End and a 1,200-capacity seated covered stand at the Blackfriars End with associated refreshment areas, toilets, bars, storage areas and disability facilities under, all sited closer to the pitch with reliable cost plans together with demolition costs and new floodlight costs.

So with estimates for services and new access positions, we know the likely costs for this work.

Grant funding, for the Conference, is a maximum of £400,000 for the site. That allows an allocation of £200,000 per stand, but should we gain promotion back to the Football League this will increase to £750,000.

The proceeds from the sale of the land will be held in an escrow account for use only for the development of the stands. Currently this would appear to be short of the full costs but we continue to seek best value.

The Blackfriars development would provide 60,000 sq foot of commercial space over five storeys and interest continues from hotel users, offices and some retail use, with residential a consideration.

The Meadow End development would provide 24,000 sq ft of residential space over four storeys with associated parking. It is proposed to joint-market this site with the council land to achieve best value as there will be an improved marriage value for both sites than it being a stand-alone project.

With a short-fall for these projects, funds from the share issue will help tremendously to complete these works and give us a stadium to be proud of.

The board have been looking at ways to retain interest in the development areas and I am discussing proposals with joint-venture companies so that we can retain an interest in the project and some financial share to provide a steady income to the club.

A new three-year lease, running from June 2014, has been agreed, in principle, with the trustees at Belmont Abbey and a new 10-year lease at Victoria Park is in final draft form, securing much-needed training facilities.

However, the Aylestone Park project by HUFC community trust has been delayed until the New Year.

There is plenty to do and I’ll let you know more when we have signed the leases.