Nottingham Forest offered stadium lease


Nottingham Forest have been offered to buy land Image: City Ground, The Stadium Guide, CC BY-SA 2.0

Premier League club Nottingham Forest have been offered the opportunity to buy their City Ground’s freehold for £10 million.

The Athletic said Forest are understood to have been offered the chance to buy the land from Nottingham City Council.

City council leader David Mellen has confirmed to The Athletic there is an option open to the club to buy the freehold “so the destiny (of the City Ground) will be in their own hands rather than having to negotiate with us as the landlord.”

The City Ground is a football stadium in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England (UK), on the banks of the River Trent. It has been home to the Nottingham Forest F.C. since 1898 and has a capacity of 30,455.

Nottingham Forest’s unveiling of a multi-million pound revamp plan for the City Ground in 2019 led the city council to consider the terms under which the club rents the stadium’s land.

The city council, as the owner of that land, reportedly wanted to increase rent from £250,000 a year to “north of a million.”

As the dispute went on, Nottingham Forest then put forward plans to move to a new ground in Toton in the city. Now a new path has emerged.

Buying the freehold for £10 million would cost significantly less in the long-term and a senior Nottingham councillor says it has always been part of discussions.

Councillor Steve Battlemuch, who holds the property portfolio at Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s not a new thing. When you look at the financial situation that Forest are in, the financial situation that the council are in, then you get an independent valuation of the land and the potential cost of the lease, things change.

“We’ve been in negotiations with the club for the best part of a year and we’ve not put any of this in the public domain, we’ve just been sitting back and trying to do things through face to face or over emails, but the club have twice now gone public and so at that point the council felt it had no option but to reply.”

A central part of the long-term vision is to increase the capacity of the Peter Taylor Stand by knocking it down and rebuilding it. Plans also include improving and, in the case of the Bridgford Stand, extending the other three sides of the ground.

Once the major stadium work had been completed, Forest has also revealed plans for a 169-unit residential block near the existing Bridgford House apartments.

The Conservative-led authority has just signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Forest, which the council says will see it support the club’s ambitions to “deliver new training and stadium infrastructure.”

Forest are also said to have their eye on a new training ground as the owner Evangelos Marinakis targets further improvements at the club.

Tom Cartledge, Chairman, Nottingham Forest F.C., said, “There is a recognition that our existing facilities are too small and incapable of accommodating, as one, the women’s team (Nottingham Forest Women F.C.), the academy and what the Premier League expectations are for the first team.

“A piece of land has been identified which will accommodate everyone and help us attract talent, not just at the first-team level. Kids will be coming to a place that is ambitious and has all the best facilities. It’s another ambition of the ownership: To treat the players and the future talent of the club in the best possible way.”

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