National League football club Wrexham AFC has released the first images of its proposed new 5,500-capacity Kop stand, which will revert the Racecourse Ground back to a four-sided stadium.
Wrexham has also released a computer-generated fly-through of the designs for the new stand, which has been a priority for co-chairmen Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds since they became owners of the club in February 2021.
The design team, which will feature a hospitality lounge, office and retail space, and Community Trust facilities, includes AFL Architects, Gardiner & Theobald, Ramboll, Savills and Royal Pilgrim.
Of the 5,500 capacity, 5,000 will be allocated for general admission fans, with rail seating to form part of the design. Wrexham said this will allow the club to meet the all-seater criteria of UEFA’s Category 4 status while allowing supporters to stand for club matches. An example of the seating will be installed in the stadium car park for supporters to view in the coming weeks.
The additional 500 seats will be for corporate guests and will provide direct access from the hospitality lounge. Accessible seating will be available at elevated positions and the stand has been designed to recognise Wrexham’s link with the coal mining industry.
The matchday concourse area will become an exhibition space for events on non-match days, which the club hopes will address the “current gap in the local market” and generate more economic activity and profile to benefit the town.
A statutory consultation period of one month will commence on July 1, with Wrexham intending to meet as many organisations as possible who have an interest in the development. The club then intends to submit a planning application to Wrexham County Borough Council for permission to deliver the new Kop stand.
McElhenney and Reynolds said: “Back in February 2021, when we first became custodians of the club, it was identified that reverting the Racecourse Ground to a four-sided stadium was a priority for us.
“The desire to achieve this objective has only been multiplied by the fact that the sold-out signs were a regular feature at the Racecourse Ground, and we want the club to be accessible to everyone, so the increased capacity is key to achieving this.
“We would encourage everyone to support the planning application when it is submitted and would like to thank Wrexham Council, Welsh Government & Wrexham Glyndwr University (together with the Gateway Partnership) who are fully committed to making the new Kop a reality.”
Wrexham said that funding for the project will come from the public and private sectors, with the club making a “significant” contribution towards the overall cost. Public-sector funding is being sought from the Levelling Up Fund Bid, which will ensure the Racecourse Ground becomes the ‘Stadium for the North’ and meet requirements to host international sporting events.
The independent ‘Stadium for the North’ campaign is designed to gain UK Government Levelling Up funding for the transformation of the Racecourse Ground. The campaign gained thousands of signatures during its first week.
In February, one year on from the takeover of the club, Wrexham reached a heads of terms agreement to purchase the freehold of the Racecourse Ground. AFL Architects was last year appointed by Wrexham to develop the stadium, which first opened in 1864 for football.
Image: Wrexham AFC