Forest push back Peter Taylor stand revamp work



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The City Ground, Nottingham Image: Nottingham Forest

The professional football club based in West Bridgford, England – Nottingham Forest – has been forced to put off major reconfiguration work at their residence – the 30,445 City Ground – which was planned for this summer due to delays in the planning process. Major redecoration work was planned for the Peter Taylor stand but has been pushed back as planning application has still not got the nod.

The City Ground is a football stadium in West Bridgford on the banks of the River Trent. It has been home to Nottingham Forest Football Club since 1898.

The second-tier English Football League club has stated that it is now not in a position to start work on the £100m construction project which was due to commence at the end of the current season.

The planning application in this regard was submitted to the local authorities in December last year and the club was hopeful that work would progress during the first quarter of 2020. However, the Forest said it is no longer feasible to begin work in May this year.

A statement released by the club stated, “The club had planned that major construction work would begin in May this year, however, due to delays in the planning process the club is not in a position to start the development at the end of the current season.”

“As a result, the club has made the decision to allow season card holders in the Peter Taylor Stand the chance to renew their seat. The club remains fully committed to the project and will continue to work towards securing all the relevant approvals, and is evaluating the options for the new timescales in order to minimize disruption for supporters,” the statement added.

The development, confirmed in December 2019, would increase the City Ground’s capacity from 30,000 to 36,000 with the Peter Taylor Stand expanded to a 10,000-capacity three-tier construction. The project – led by international firm of architects Benoy – would also entail a residential development and enhanced supporters’ facilities.

Local MP (Rushcliffe) Ruth Edwards said the delay is a frustration for the area, as it would have led to creation of new jobs – with Forest having estimated a stadium headcount rise from 850 to up to 1,450 people.

“People are rightly focused on coronavirus at the moment but we need to make sure that big investment projects, like this, are still moving forward. This redevelopment will benefit not only Forest itself but will also bring extra trade to many local businesses,” Edwards added.

“I sincerely hope the planning application is approved very soon as the club needs certainty and the community, as well as Forest fans everywhere, will want to see the club able to plan for the future,” the MP further noted.

“The City Ground is an iconic stadium in English football but it needs redevelopment to allow the club to move forward with its ambitions and I am very supportive of what Nicholas and the owners are trying to achieve,” she added.

“These are exciting plans for a new Peter Taylor Stand and a residential development which will be a striking addition to the cityscape along the river,” Edwards asserted.

As per plans submitted in December, the new Peter Taylor Stand will feature a museum, a new club shop, a range of hospitality lounge options, restaurants and executive boxes. New concourses will also be created for general-admission supporters, along with improved facilities for disabled supporters and a significant increase in wheelchair spaces.

Speaking at the time, Forest Chairman Nicholas Randall observed, “In addition to the economic and social benefits, the new stand will also enable us to develop high-quality spaces in order to create a vibrant hub for community-based activity. This will open up opportunities for more diverse and inclusive programs for all our people and in particular the young to participate in.”

A few days before the UK Government’s latest coronavirus advice was issued, Edwards met with Forest Chairman Nicholas Randall at the City Ground to discuss the proposals for the stadium and a residential development next to it.

Earlier, Nottingham Forest Football Club had submitted a hybrid planning application to Rushcliffe Borough Council to redevelop its West Bridgford ground in December 2019.

The application sought full planning permission for the redevelopment of the Peter Taylor stand, which includes the demolition of existing structures, a new public realm and car parking and outline planning permission for up to 250 residential units. These are to consist of two blocks, reaching to 11 and 13 floors, comprising a mix of studios, one bed, two beds and two/three bed duplex residential apartments.

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