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Watford engages Populous for stadium work – report

Architecture firm Populous has been enlisted to advise Premier League football club Watford on the expansion of its Vicarage Road stadium, according to The Athletic.

The website reported that Populous has been appointed to finalise designs for a two-phase, £40m (€46.6m/$51.9m) project that would significantly increase the stadium’s capacity from 21,577 to 32,000.

Watford chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury revealed in April 2018 that the club was looking to expand Vicarage Road and while no official announcement has been made since then, The Athletic’s report suggests the club is starting to put plans into place.

The Athletic said that Populous has been engaged ahead of the submission of a planning permission application to Watford Council over the next couple of months.

Watford has played at Vicarage Road since the stadium opened in 1922. The ground last underwent expansion in 2015 when 700 seats were added to the Sir Elton John Stand.

Duxbury said last year that the expansion plans are not designed to generate new revenue for the club, but instead to give it a “technical advantage” on a match day.

Vicarage Road is one of the smallest grounds in the Premier League, with only Vitality Stadium (AFC Bournemouth) and Turf Moor (Burnley) seating fewer fans.

Populous designed Tottenham’s state-of-the-art new stadium and last month was shortlisted alongside Manica to design a new home for Italian Serie A clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Image: Brakspear