Monday 26 February 2024
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City Ground extension plans still not signed off as parties work for a solution

Council bosses say they are working with Nottingham Forest FC to bring a planning barrier “to the conclusion” as the Reds look to redevelop the City Ground into a world-class sporting venue.

Rushcliffe Borough Council says “all parties” involved in the redevelopment want the current backlog to come to an end as soon as possible, with the club telling fans it expects the Peter Taylor Stand to be revamped soon.

The club’s comments came in a notice to fans ahead of the new season in which it said the stand is “expected” to be redeveloped soon – leading to disruption for some fans and a reduced stadium capacity.

It said: “The club wants to minimise the future disruption caused to Season Card holders during the expected redevelopment of the Peter Taylor Stand, which will create a temporary reduction in the capacity of the City Ground whilst works take place.

“We understand that some supporters may be disappointed at not being able to secure a season card, but further details on our membership packages will be released shortly.”

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The Reds first announced the multi-million-pound project to rejuvenate the City Ground in 2019, with the club setting out its intention to transform its home into a state-of-the-art stadium.

Further progress is now expected to take place after the club secured promotion back to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years.

The first phase of the plans would centre on redeveloping the Peter Taylor stand by rebuilding it to an increased capacity of 10,000 supporters.

This would come alongside world-class dressing rooms, a museum, a club shop, executive boxes and media suites.

The club also plans to make improvements to the other three sides of the ground, with the Bridgford Stand earmarked for an extension.

But the plans have been delayed due to planning permission not yet being granted, with issues found by planners around a proposed residential development next to the stadium.

The plans have been described as a “complex project”, with the stadium’s location providing “logistical challenges” due to its close proximity to existing residential areas.

Last year, the club submitted a sustainable and environmentally-friendly travel plan for fans visiting the ground, which was seen as the final piece in the puzzle to get the redevelopment over the line.

However, Rushcliffe Borough Council is yet to give the plans the go-ahead but says it is working with all parties to find a solution.

A council spokesperson said: “All relevant stakeholders are in dialogue to ensure there is a conclusion to this process as speedily as possible.

“When there is further information we will provide an update. All parties want to bring this to the conclusion as soon as practicable and are working to achieve that end.”

The spokesperson could not provide a date for when councillors will discuss the redevelopment plans and potentially give their approval.

If or when the plans are approved, however, the project is expected to provide a boost to the city and county’s economy and create hundreds, if not thousands of jobs.

The construction phase alone could lead to as many as 1,200 new roles, with the club and its owner Evangelos Marinakis hoping these jobs can be created locally.

A previous 10-year projection estimated the project’s overall impact on the economy could be a £0.6 billion injection, with the club previously estimating this could double if Premier League promotion was secured.

In its statement of accounts last year, the club said “further cost has been incurred” following an initial spend of more than £2 million, adding there are “solid grounds for optimism” over the plans being given the go-ahead.

The statement added: “This has been a complex process because of the cross-jurisdictional nature of the City Ground site coupled with the fact that the development is taking place in a residential area with the challenges this brings in the planning process.

“The board maintains its view that the best option for the club and its supporters was to remain at and develop the City Ground site rather than to move to an out-of-town venue which would have posed few planning challenges.

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“The club retains solid grounds for optimism that the local planners will approve the application in the near future.”

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