English League Two football club Northampton Town has revealed designs for a proposed redevelopment of the East Stand at its Sixfields home ground, with the plans to increase the stadium’s capacity to just over 8,000.

Sixfields, which is officially known as the PTS Academy Stadium, has a current capacity of 7,798. Northampton has explored a number of options for the design of its East Stand and has now decided to enhance the existing structure rather than make major changes to the footprint.

Northampton said the decision has been taken in consideration of existing planning consents and return on investment for the club. If the plans come to fruition, it will mark the first time in the club’s history that pitch-facing hospitality has been available to the commercial department.

It is hoped that adding boxes and hospitality areas in the East Stand will enable the club to increase both its commercial revenue and the value proposition for existing and new partners. Space for a fan zone project behind the new East Stand has also been earmarked.

Northampton noted that while the expansion of the stadium’s capacity to just over 8,000 is “not a significant increase”, the club said the cost/return financial projections would not justify a major change to the structure at this time just to increase capacity. The club has decided that any capacity increases would be more prudent at the North or South ends of the stadium.

Northampton is also discussing a wider development opportunity with the new West Northamptonshire Council but the building of the East Stand will be completed before any other development takes place.

Northampton now has 100% ownership of the CDNL company, which controls the leases to approximately 22 acres of land next to the club. The club has never officially controlled this land previously.

When the club was under previous ownership, it was loaned £10.25m (€11.9m/$14.2m) by Northampton Borough Council to revamp the East Stand. Work on the project was stopped in 2014 and in November 2019 Northamptonshire Police described a probe into the missing £10.25m loan as a “complex financial and corruption investigation”.

Northampton said that it accepts the process to expand the East Stand has taken longer than anticipated, but cited a number of reasons for this.

The club said in a statement: “When you add up the problems with the leases that were inherited, the CVA process, the current ground conditions, the politics of what went on before our ownership, the police and council investigations regarding what went on before our ownership, the ownership itself of the stand, the change of local authority, and the COVID-19 pandemic to name a few things, hopefully fans can understand a little more.

“However, that all being said, we are positive about the direction we are heading and felt confident enough that a few months ago we were able to commission these conceptual images to show both the council, supporters and stakeholders what we are trying to achieve with the East Stand.”

Image: Northampton Town