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Monday, 19 January 2009 09:20

Kop Footprint Too Small?

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"The club fully intend to deliver a 5000 all-seater stand."

Geoff Moss May 2006

P 2008 / 1296 : 521 student flats in two blocks ,access road , parking and landscaping. (Phase one detailed below).

Wrexham Supporters Trust observations relating to the detailed application.

The Wrexham Supporters Trust have viewed the above planning proposal and in principle support a development which will provide a 15,000 stadium with a new Kop Stand (capacity 5,000). The Trust also support any development which clears the debt of the club and leaves it with a working capital. We understand that the owner (s) will take some of the profit out of the clubs development ; However these aspects need to be closely monitored.

It is a matter of grave concern that the footprint left in the plans for the new Kop stand does not appear to be of sufficient size to build a 5000 seater stand.

In the illustration , Green = area of footprint left on plans, Pink = area needed to build a 5000 seater stand (as at Stockport), Blue = new access space needed for pink stand.

Our figures suggest that the footprint is of similar size to the Eric Roberts Stand, which with current regulations would allow for a structure of around 3000.

The club have always maintained that they wished to build a stand of 5000 seats, not only to protect the clubs international status, but also for the commercial opportunities a structure of this size would afford the club.

We would also add to this that the club needs a stadium of this size as a minimum to allow it to grow and reach its full potential after many years of mismanagement.

It would also be necessary to house the club shop ,ticket office & offices now housed in Mr Dickens garage. Should this new stand not be of sufficient size the only other alternative would be for these functions to revert to their old site in the Yale Stand.

This cannot be a forward step for the club.

We might also add that the artists impression of the New Kop bears no resemblance whatsoever to the plans submitted to the local authority. In fact no plans have been submitted at all other than the outline of the New Kop footprint ,which as has been noted is inadequate.

The Local Authority have always been very clear in their desire to have a 5000 seat stand on the Kop. Their interest is primarily the International status that this would give the town. There cannot be many towns the size of Wrexham that have an International facility that has hosted World Cup games in both Rugby codes as well as in excess of 100 Welsh football and rugby internationals.

Of course we understand that delivery of the new Kop is dependant on the club receiving grant funding from both the Welsh Assembly & the Football Foundation. In support of this the WST has met with two of the last three Culture Secretaries in order to lobby for this. They both stated their support for the new Kop but at the same time pointed out that they could not commit further due to the fact that the club have never made any application for funding. We hope to meet the new Culture secretary in the near future.

We find it troubling that the club should, prior to making any funding request, submit an application that would make any potential request academic. If funding was available there would not be the space to build the stand if the current application is passed.

It seems perverse that the club should submit plans that compromise their stated ambitions of building a 5000 seat stand.

In light of this supporters could be forgiven for concluding that the Directors of Wrexham FC have never had any intention of backing their rhetoric on this issue with the necessary actions to deliver an acceptable outcome.

Of course a smaller Kop footprint would mean that there was a larger area of land to develop and thus increase the potential profit for the clubs shareholders.

The WST recognises the need for a development on the club land in order to clear the clubs debts to its owner Mr Moss. However the current plans, if accepted, will limit the ground capacity and severely restrict the clubs capacity to grow .

The board of the WST call on the Directors of Wrexham FC to revisit their planning application and amend it to allow a stand of 5000 seats on the Kop. Supporters of the club have been promised this by the club on many occasions and expect this to be delivered by the club.

The WST have further concerns about the planning application and details of these can be found in the followingletter sent to the council this week.

click here

John Mills