English Premier League football club Burnley has confirmed plans to improve the facilities for disabled supporters at its Turf Moor home ground.
The stadium will undergo major changes from January 2018, with a number of elevated platforms to be provided for wheelchair access.
The work will bring Burnley in line with the Accessible Stadium Guide (ASG) regulations and follow a commitment to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which outline minimum requirements at all Premier League grounds.
The club has been given until August 2018 to comply with improved disabled access provisions that include dedicated, covered viewing platforms and new toilet facilities.
Construction is predicted to take approximately six months and will involve a consultation with a number of fans that may be affected by the work.
The installation of the elevated platforms will involve multi-million pound building projects in two corners of the stadium, including the relocation of the jumbo screen.
An indoor ticket office waiting area will then be constructed to complement the existing building and replace the temporary canopy that is currently in situ.
Stadium and operations manager Doug Metcalfe said: “This is a significant part of our stadium development and is all about providing the right facilities for our disabled supporters here at Turf Moor.
“Back in 2015, the Premier League made a commitment that all their member clubs would be compliant to the ASG requirements and our commitment is August, 2018.
“Within 12 months, we will therefore have a stadium that meets those requirements. It’s been well documented that our disabled supporter facilities could be better, and we need to provide a view and an environment that is equivalent to the general seating within the stadium.
“We are at the end of a design stage now and in both corners of the ground, at either end of the Jimmy McIlroy stand, we are looking at different platform levels, where supporters can enjoy a great view in sheltered surroundings, with easy access, a concession facilities and toilets.
“It’s a large and challenging project and this is not about cost, but about doing the right thing. We have embraced this step change and look forward to getting going in the New Year, with a six-to-seven month build time.”
Chairman Mike Garlick added: “We now feel we have a scheme that will finally offer disabled supporters’ facilities that are on a par with able-bodied supporters.
“Much hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get to the stage where we can present what we are intending to do in two corners of the stadium in the coming year, but I think it’s appropriate to clarify that no further plans are currently in place.”
Burnley has, however, confirmed that there are no current plans to increase the overall capacity of Turf Moor in the short term – unless an increased demand for seats forces a rethink.