Barrow A.F.C. ‘burrow’ capacity rise plans



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Barrow AFC new stadium plans Image: Barrow AFC

The EFL League Two team Barrow A.F.C. bosses say an increase in seating capacity at the club’s home ground – the Holker Street Stadium in Barrow-in-Furness, England (UK) – will provide a boost to the area.

‘The Mail’ stated that the club has submitted a proposal to the Westmorland and Furness Council to keep the Holker Street Stadium compliant with English Football League (EFL) regulations and to provide 2,000 covered seats by August 1st, 2023.

The Barrow Association Football Club is a professional football club based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England (UK). The club competes in EFL League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system. Having initially played in the Lancashire Combination, Barrow joined the Football League in 1921.

The 5,400-capacity Holker Street is a sports stadium in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England (UK). As well as being a football ground, it has also been used for motorcycle speedway. It once had some leisure center facilities, including four squash courts, which have now been demolished. It serves as the home facility of Barrow A.F.C.

The Lancashire Combination was a football league founded in the North West of England in 1891-1892. It absorbed the Lancashire League in 1903. In 1968, the Combination lost five of its clubs to the newly formed Northern Premier League. In 1982, it was finally merged with the Cheshire County League to form the North West Counties League.

The North West Counties Football League is a football league in the North West of England (UK). Since 2019-2020, the league has covered the Isle of Man, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cumbria, Northern Staffordshire, Northern Shropshire, the far West of West Yorkshire, and the High Peak area of Derbyshire.

The Westmorland and Furness Council is the local authority for Westmorland and Furness in the North-West of England. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a Non-Metropolitan County and the District Council combined.

The English Football League (EFL) is a league of professional football clubs from England and Wales (UK). Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in the world. It was the top-level football league in England from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split from it to form the Premier League.

‘The Mail’ further stated that the ground currently has only 1,130 seats, with a total existing capacity of 5,449.

The application is for: “Installation of two new ‘temporary’ covered grandstands adjacent to the Wilkie Road and seating in front of the Cross Bar and associated works.”

The above development would see the capacity increased to “circa 6,300 to 6,500”.

The planning statement, signed by the Director of Barrow A.F.C., Frazer Stewart, read, “Failure to comply with the criteria will result in the central payment from the EFL being stopped. This accounts for around 33 percent of the club’s annual income and would endanger the existence of the club.”

The statement goes on to outline the “significant benefits to the wider community” the extra seats would bring.

This includes the extra provision for away supporters.

The statement further read, “The number of away fans will increase from around 650 to around 950. There are a significant number of away fans who stop over for the weekend and visit other towns. For example, 150 Stockport (town in England) fans visited the pubs of Ulverston (town in England) on February 25th. Furthermore, it will also provide wheelchair access for away fans to watch with their fellow fans.”

The statement also explains how the proposal would provide an extra 100 step-free seats for those with mobility issues.

It outlines further benefits the proposal brings, stating, “The increase brings with it the requirement for more stewards, bar, catering, and turnstile staff, increasing the casual employment in Barrow. The structures proposed for use are second-hand, from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, not only reducing costs but also reducing the environmental impact of building brand new equipment.”

An area of the ground would be demolished as part of the proposal.

The statement added, “The area which houses the away fans causes the club and the Council safety advisory group significant and continued concern, part of which has been barriered off since July 2022, such is the concern. The works proposed demolishes the area and removes all areas of concern.”

The 2022 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXII Commonwealth Games and commonly known as Birmingham 2022, was an international multisport event for members of the Commonwealth of Nations that took place in Birmingham, England, between July 28th-August 8th, 2022.

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