Aston Villa prepares to kick-off stadium expansion plans

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Aston Villa expects to formally kick-off its stadium expansion plans within weeks.

The club, which is in its third-consecutive season in the Premier League, said it is “making really good progress” on developing designs.

The vision is focused on addressing demand for season tickets and hospitality the club can’t currently satisfy, as well as reimagining its commercial space.

Its current capacity is just under 43,000, making it the eighth-largest stadium in the Premier League but with rivals such as Everton and Leicester City also embarking on major stadium investments programmes.

Christian Purslow, chief executive of Aston Villa, said: “We have 20,000 fans now on our waiting list for season tickets, which is an absolutely remarkable figure and is constantly growing.

“We sold out our 29,000 [season ticket] allocation this season in a couple of days. The fact that 20,000 people can’t get season tickets when they want them is a perfect backdrop to try and increase the size of our stadium.

“A good chunk of those people would like to have hospitality rather than pure general admission tickets.

“The third element is to transform our commercial space, whether that’s a substantially-improved retail operation or other aspects of matchday and non-matchday commercial operations.

“Those three elements – capacity, hospitality, commercial activities – form part of our vision for a redevelopment of Villa Park.

“We’re making good progress, I’m hoping to be able to apply for planning consent in the next month or so, for some or all of those ideas.”

One limiting factor the football club is facing is transport infrastructure around its ground.

Purslow said: “We are putting our best efforts into persuading the local authorities that they need to really improve that aspect of the infrastructure around Villa Park.

“If the local authorities can’t get our fans away safely and quickly after games with the 42,000 crowd, imagine how it would be if we were to go to 50,000 without that improvement being in place.

“Those fans who’ve been through it, I’m sorry you’ve had to experience that, it is unacceptable – and I’m in discussion with local authorities about how they can improve that as soon as possible.”