COUNCIL leader David Renard says he is willing to listen to any proposals that will improve the County Ground in the wake of Swindon Town showing interest in developing the stadium.

The Advertiser understands the only talks to have taken place between the club and the council of late have been to discuss the terms of the current lease agreement, which is a rolling one-month contract at this stage.

But new non-executive vice-chairman Clem Morfuni, founder of Axis, who renewed their Town shirt sponsorship for a further two years this summer, has made an immediate impact after stating that he intends to use his expertise in construction to explore developing the club’s home of more than 120 years.

Meanwhile, the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust are close to putting in a second bid, having had an initial offer of £1.1million turned down, to purchase the lease from the council, which the Advertiser understands to be valued by the council at just over £2million.

And while Swindon Borough Council leader Coun Renard admits that they are open to any offers, he is keen to see the best deal struck, not only for the tax payer but also for the interests of the stadium.

“I’m not aware there are any other interested parties,” Coun Renard, who has not personally had a conversation with the club in three years, told the Advertiser.

“If somebody comes forward with a proposal that would enable us to upgrade the quality of the ground, then I would be very keen to hear what they have to say.

“It is one of our gateways into our town and therefore, an improved looking ground is good for the town as a whole as well as the club and the supporters.

“We’ve had ongoing conversations with the Trust and the position is that they are going to write to us with an offer.

“I would hope it would be something we would be able to accept.

“I believe the club now are thinking they ought to enter into a proper longer-term lease and that’s the conversation we’re having with them.”

With the Trust’s talks in advance stages with the council, Coun Renard is aware that any future discussions on the lease must take that into consideration but says the supporters’ group will be getting no special treatment, should a rival bid come in.

“Obviously, the Trust have now got involved in terms of their interest in the ground so we have got to factor that additional level of complexity into those (lease) discussions,” he added.

“If we come to an agreement with the Trust, then clearly we don’t want to enter into an arrangement with the club that is going to make life difficult for the Trust.

“Ultimately, what I want to see is an improved County Ground.

“The council, in the current financial climate, is not in the position to make those sort of investments which is why I am quite keen, if we can, that we come to some sort of arrangement with the Trust.

“Ultimately, I can’t sell the ground to the Trust for anything less than its valuation and that’s the issue we’re trying to work our way through.”