Nottingham Forest has been forced to postpone major redevelopment work at the City Ground planned for this summer due to delays in the planning process.
The second-tier English Football League club said it is now not in a position to start the £100m construction project which was due to commence at the end of the current season.
A planning application was submitted to the local authorities last December, with the club hopeful it would progress during the first quarter of 2020. However, Forest said it is no longer feasible to begin work in May.
“The club remains fully committed to the project and will continue to work towards securing all the relevant approvals, and is evaluating the options for the new timescales in order to minimise disruption for supporters,” Forest said in a statement.
The project, confirmed last December, would raise the City Ground’s capacity from 30,000 to 36,000 with the Peter Taylor Stand expanded to a 10,000-capacity three-tier construction. The project, led by architects Benoy, would also include a residential development and improved supporters’ facilities.
After accepting the work will not be done this summer, Forest said that season card holders in the Peter Taylor Stand can renew their seat for the 2020-21 season from this week.
Local MP Ruth Edwards said the delay is a frustration for the area, noting the potential for new job creation – with Forest having estimated a stadium headcount rise from 850 to up to 1,450 people.
“People are rightly focused on coronavirus at the moment but we need to make sure that big investment projects, like this, are still moving forward,” said Edwards. “This redevelopment will benefit not only Forest itself but will also bring extra trade to many local businesses.
“I sincerely hope the planning application is approved very soon as the club needs certainty and the community, as well as Forest fans everywhere, will want to see the club able to plan for the future.”
Under the plans submitted in December, the new Peter Taylor Stand will receive a museum, a new club shop, a range of hospitality lounge options, restaurants and executive boxes. New concourses will also be created for general-admission supporters, along with improved facilities for disabled supporters and a significant increase in wheelchair spaces.
Speaking at the time, Forest chairman Nicholas Randall said: “In addition to the economic and social benefits, the new stand will also enable us to develop high-quality spaces in order to create a vibrant hub for community-based activity. This will open up opportunities for more diverse and inclusive programmes for all our people and in particular the young to participate in.”
Images: Nottingham Forest