National League football club Wrexham is progressing with plans to redevelop the Kop end at the Racecourse Ground after missing out on Levelling Up funding, with construction company Morgan Sindall appointed as the preferred contractor for the project.
The Wrexham Gateway project, which includes redevelopment of the Racecourse Ground, was not among the 11 Welsh projects to receive Government funding earlier this month.
In a statement released on Friday, Wrexham said that “positive discussions” have commenced around alternative funding options.
The club described the decision by the Government to reject Wrexham County Borough Council’s application on behalf of the Gateway Partnership as “disappointing and as yet unexplained”.
The grant application to the Levelling Up Fund was for financial support towards the proposed Kop development, with Wrexham hoping to transform the Racecourse Ground into a stadium capable of hosting senior Wales internationals.
In November, the club was granted permission to construct a new 5,500-capacity stand at the stadium to replace the Kop end. The old stand has already been demolished.
The new stand, which will revert the Racecourse Ground to a four-sided stadium, has been a priority for co-chairmen Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds since they became owners of the club in February 2021.
The club is making a significant contribution towards the new stand after already purchasing the freehold of the stadium but Levelling Up funding was also sought. Despite the setback, the club and all stakeholders of the Gateway Partnership remain committed to delivering the project.
Shaun Harvey, strategic advisor to the board at Wrexham, said: “The decision to reject the grant application was disappointing but we always had a plan B and that is now being progressed with the Gateway Partnership. We are working to a deadline of June 1, 2023 for construction work to commence on the Kop, so as to not to put completion for the start of the 2024-25 season at risk.
“With the support of the Gateway Partnership, Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the preferred contractor for the Kop development and they are now fully engaged with the project’s design team, to prepare for construction work to commence. The discussions around the funding options will progress over the coming weeks to find the best possible solution among the options available to us.”
The first images of the proposed new stand were released in June last year. Of the 5,500 capacity, 5,000 will be allocated for general admission fans, with rail seating to form part of the design.
Wrexham provided the update ahead of yesterday’s (Sunday’s) 3-3 draw against Sheffield United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.