Forest secures Council approval for City Ground redevelopment

Nottingham Forest has said it will step up talks on the delivery of the redevelopment of its City Ground after the English Premier League football club’s project was given the green light by Rushcliffe Borough Council.

The Council’s Planning Committee yesterday (Thursday) approved, by nine votes to two, Forest’s plans for amendments to the City Ground, its home since 1898, including a new stand increasing capacity and associated residential development.

The vote came after a planning application report from the Council last week recommended the approval of Forest’s application for the major redevelopment of its stadium.

Forest submitted a planning application to the council back in December 2019, but there had been a number of consultations and changes to the plans since then. However, the club’s promotion back to the Premier League last season has given renewed impetus to the project, which will initially focus on rebuilding the Peter Taylor Stand, bringing its capacity up to 10,000.

The club has also been seeking to improve the other three sides of the stadium, including the extension of the Bridgford Stand, with a long-term goal of bringing the City Ground’s current capacity of around 30,000 up to 38,000.

Documents also state Forest has applied for permission in principle to build a 13-storey apartment building next to the stadium. Work was originally intended to commence in the summer of 2020, and a new timeline has yet to be confirmed.

Following yesterday’s Council vote, Forest said: “This decision represents a significant landmark in the journey to redevelop the historic City Ground site and represents the culmination of three years of dedicated work by the club and its advisers.

“We believe that the development of the site is crucial to maintaining the club’s status in the Premier League and all of the benefits to the local community and economy which this status brings. The development will also represent the physical manifestation of the desire of the club’s owner Mr (Evangelos) Marinakis to leave a historic legacy at the football club.

“The decision now opens the door to the club to have detailed discussions with its advisers and partners on how and when the development will be delivered. These discussions will be undertaken as soon as practicable and the club remains determined to provide the wonderful supporters of the club with a stadium of which they can be truly proud in the modern era.”

Leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, Cllr Simon Robinson, added: “Both sides have shown commitment to get the application through and do the very best for the club, the supporters and Rushcliffe itself.

“We appreciate Nottingham Forest is a very keen partner of the council. They bring a huge amount of business right across the Borough. We’re absolutely delighted that this application has now been passed and we look forward to working with them going forward.”

The overall cost of the project is reportedly set to exceed £94m (€110m/$112m). The club has previously said that the new Peter Taylor Stand will feature 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.

In June 2019, Forest secured a new 250-year lease to play at the City Ground. The club has been working with architects Benoy on the renovation project.

Images: Nottingham Forest