Villa Park expansion plans on hold


Aston Villa stadium update January 2024 Image: Aston Villa

Aston Villa have put plans to redevelop Villa Park on hold, despite being granted planning permission to redevelop the historic stadium.

Villa last year unveiled the vision to expand the ground’s capacity by adding an additional 10,000 seats to the 42,640-seat stadium.

The proposals had included the addition of a new two-tiered North Stand and upgrades to the Trinity Stand that could potentially sit an additional 7,500 supporters.

But the club’s president of business operations, Chris Heck, has now revealed plans for the redevelopment have been put on ice.

Heck, formerly of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Philadelphia 76ers, who arrived last summer to take up the role of the President of Villa’s Business Operations following the departure of the former head honcho Christian Purslow.

Heck expressed concerns that the stadium’s capacity would drop to 36,000 during the reconstruction process.

He told the club’s website, “We have 42,000 seats. A substantial amount. To add on 10,000 right now doesn’t seem practical to me. I’ll tell you why. We talk about Villa Park being a fortress. It is true. There’s no better home advantage than at Villa Park.

“I think it would be a bad idea to tear down one of the stands for two years while we are playing like we are. I think that going forward, everything should be about all fans and not just one particular stand.”

Villa had planned to demolish the North Stand following a Foo Fighters concert at Villa Park next June.

This would have been replaced with a new stand which connecting with the Trinity Road Stand and the Doug Ellis Stand. The club had anticipated spending £100 million on the regeneration project.

Heck added, “They are extremely ambitious ideas. During the summer months I became concerned we were adding too many seats too fast. I believe it was important we took a step back and re-evaluate what is best for our fans.”

Last September, the club announced that its Villa Live concept – a BOXPARK-like venue for supporters and the community – would still go ahead despite speculation that ‘The Warehouse at Villa Park’ was viewed as a more cost-effective alternative.

‘The Warehouse at Villa Park’ will be a short-term fix for supporters wanting to experience a fan zone pre-and post-match.

Villa Park was recently selected as a venue in the UK and Ireland’s successful bid to host the UEFA Euro 2028 Championship.

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