English Premier League football club Brighton & Hove Albion has been given the green light to expand the capacity of its American Express Community Stadium to 32,500.
The club’s plans have been approved by Brighton & Hove City Council. The expansion plans include permission for a new external fan zone area, including kiosks, external toilets and a giant screen on Station Approach.
Some of the work on the stadium has already been completed, with other upgrades to be phased over the short to medium term, including an extra stairway leading from the external concourse to the coach park and a new gatehouse on Village Way.
If fans are able to return to stadiums from next season, Brighton said that a newly increased capacity of 31,800 seats will be available. The stadium’s current capacity is 30,750.
Brighton chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said: “This is a really positive move and fans will benefit from an even better matchday experience at the Amex in the future.
“We pride ourselves on delivering the best experience for fans, and this is yet another significant investment from (club owner) Tony Bloom to help us further our facilities, and open the stadium up to even more Albion supporters, hopefully from next August, and also further in the future.
“These plans have been in place for some time, and initially we would have hoped to have seen supporters benefitting from them much sooner. Additional stadium seating was our priority, and the majority of this is now in place taking our capacity to just under 32,000, but the pandemic means we will phase other parts of our planned stadium work over time.
“We are now looking ahead with cautious optimism to next season when we hope we can welcome back fans and begin to enjoy the Amex experience again.”
It was reported in February 2020 that Brighton was looking to increase the capacity of the Amex, but the plans were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brighton moved into the stadium in 2011.