Economic turmoil hits Imps’ stadium plans

How the redeveloped Stacey West Stand could look

A core element of Lincoln City FC’s plans to redevelop the Stacey West Stand at the LNER Stadium has become the latest casualty of the economic crisis, the club has revealed.

Chairman Clive Nates and Rob Bradley, chair of the Red Imps Community Trust, said in a statement that plans to add a third-tier hospitality suite to the stand would constitute an “unacceptable risk” to the club’s financial stability and its ability to pursue sustainable growth.

The pair said the decision had been taken in the midst of a volatile and much-changed economic environment compared to when the project began three years ago.

A two-tier development will now be built in order to “maximise the £1.8m already secured from various grant funds and investment from supporters and investors alike.”

Despite the setback, many of the club’s original proposals will still go ahead.

A new Community Skills and Education Hub will be built and a raft of infrastructural improvements made at the ground, including the installation of a new mains water supply and a state-of-the-art pitch irrigation system.

The club has also submitted an application to trial “safe-standing” in a small section of the Stacey West Stand and says it will install barriers in the Upper 7 block of the GBM Stand “to facilitate the safe-standing of supporters in that area.”

Nates and Bradley said the plans have the potential to increase capacity at the LNER Stadium to 11,500.

The joint statement adds: “In line with the board’s vision to have a home that is contemporary, accessible, has soul and reflects the strength of the club’s ambition, this project is just one of many potential investments into infrastructure from a maintained list of future opportunities to upgrade the stadium as part of a longer-term plan.

“It also demonstrates the club’s agility to adapt to the changing economic landscape while remaining fully committed to the board’s vision for the club.

“The Red Imps Community Trust and club boards both remain confident they can deliver a newly developed Stacey West Stand to be proud of and will provide further updates as progress is made.”

In a further statement issued this afternoon (10 November) the club confirmed it had submitted a revised planning application detailing the trimmed down proposals.