An unexpected 11th hour glitch looks set to delay Eastbourne Borough’s plans for a 3G playing surface at Priory Lane.
Borough fully expected to compete in the Vanarama South on 3G in time for next season but the finance company, who had agreed the loan, made a late addition to their terms.
They insisted the freeholder of the land at Priory Lane, the Eastbourne Borough Council, sign an agreement meaning they would meet the repayments if the club failed to do so.
The timing could not have been worse as the decision making processes of the Council have effectively been suspended until after the election - a new cabinet is unlikely to consider the position until the summer.
Borough have since entered negotiations with a third party leisure organisation called Wave Leisure who are keen to establish a presence in Eastbourne and they could sign-off on the ‘Step-In’ agreement.
But time is a factor. Work on the pitch will take 12 weeks to complete and if the Step-In clause is not resolved within two weeks, there will not be sufficient time to install the pitch for the 2015-16 campaign.
Borough CIC chairman Paul Maynard said, “Whether there is sufficient time left to conclude the due diligence and contract signing, given that the 12 week construction timetable has to be completed in the close season, remains unclear.
“As ever huge amount of work has gone on behind the scenes by some club officials, who are all volunteers because we know that a 3G pitch is central to fulfilling the club’s ambition for promotion.
“At least three other teams who we will face next season will be playing on 3G pitches and the sooner we can have our own the better. Nevertheless if we don’t get the finance in place this season - it will definitely happen next season.
“We have a series of significant announcements that we will be making over the summer - all of which will demonstrate the progress we are making off the pitch.”
Borough club chairman John Bonar added, “It was something we didn’t see coming and it has been a bit of a nightmare to be honest.
“We are the leaseholders and we lease the land from the council. We have 80 years left on the lease but we still came up against this clause.
“We had very positive talks with Wave Leisure (Tuesday night) and we are hopeful but they need to complete their due diligence.
“What ever happens our hard work will not be wasted and any decisions will be made in the best interests of the club.”