Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth has submitted an application to retain Vitality Stadium’s South Stand, a temporary structure that has been in place for almost 10 years.
Local newspaper the Daily Echo reports that Bournemouth is hoping to keep the stand in place for a further five years. A five-year deal was agreed for the temporary stand in 2013 before the current agreement was reached in 2018. This agreement is due to expire in two months.
The new deal would ensure the South Stand can remain in place until 2028. An application has been submitted to BCP Council, with the Echo reporting that a letter has been sent to the local authority from Savills on behalf of the club.
With a capacity of 11,364, Vitality Stadium is comfortably the smallest ground in the Premier League.
The letter, written by Savills associate Philip Saunders and reported by the Echo, said: “The current South Stand is a durable, presentable and well-maintained structure. It has been in safe use for almost 10 years now and is unobtrusive in its surroundings. There would be no planning benefit in requiring a removal of the South Stand at this time.
“There is a clear and continuing need for the South Stand. The Vitality Stadium has by far the smallest capacity of any Premier League ground and only a handful of current Championship clubs have a lower capacity. Retention of the South Stand means that the total capacity of the Vitality Stadium will remain below that originally consented in 1996.”
In December, US businessman Bill Foley, who owns the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team, completed his purchase of Bournemouth. Prior to completing the takeover, Foley detailed plans to expand the capacity of Vitality Stadium.
In an interview with The Athletic, Foley detailed plans for Bournemouth to eventually play at a stadium with a capacity of between 20,000 and 25,000. This would be achieved either by expanding Vitality Stadium or demolishing the ground and building a new venue.
After the takeover was completed, Bournemouth said that Foley was committed to increasing investment in the club’s first team and academy, as well as the fan experience at Vitality Stadium. Construction also commenced immediately on a new training centre.
Foley has led the construction of multiple sports venues in the Las Vegas Valley, including The Dollar Loan Center, City National Arena and Lifeguard Arena.