Design & Development

Southend United submits fresh stadium plans

Featured image credit: Populous / Southend Planning Portal

Featured image credit: Populous / Southend Planning Portal

English National League football club Southend United has officially submitted revised plans for its ambitious new stadium development.

The fresh plans, entered to Southend-on-Sea City Council, scale back the stadium’s seating capacity from the originally planned 22,000 to 16,226, while the hotel component has been eliminated entirely.

United originally revealed details of the planned changes in June after the Council called on the club to make a decision on its proposed new home back in February 2022 after granting the project final approval.

The new Fossetts Farm application includes the demolition of United’s existing training centre to be replaced by a new stadium with a capacity of up to 16,226 seats, corporate boxes, offices, a ballroom, club offices, shop, cafes/restaurants, and concessions.

The planning documents also detail a north stand residential component comprising 224 units, fan plaza residential apartments of 72 units, with ground floor sporting and community use, and 93 Fossetts Way residential apartments. The provision of two ‘soccer domes’, one for community usage, is also included.

United chairman, Ron Martin, told local newspaper the Echo: “The club’s recent planning application is identical to that which we submitted last year under a ‘Drop In’ application. 

“Following an unrelated Supreme Court decision surrounding ‘Drop In’ planning applications, in liaison with the council we jointly concluded the simpler route would be to submit a fresh application.

“Everything about the application, stadium and residential, remains precisely as was previously submitted.”

Martin has owned United for 25 years, but last week announced that he had put the club, currently 10th in the National League, up for sale. That news came after United avoided a winding-up petition after the club paid £1.4m (€1.59m/$1.71m) owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

Reacting to the latest news, Martin Terry, independent councillor responsible for public protection, said: “The council’s number one priority is to retain a league football club in our city, so let’s hope we can get this through and up and running. 

“However, fans, including myself, should be reassured that through any planning permission that is given, Roots Hall will be protected, and that there will be no activity on the site until there is a new football ground at Fossetts.”

United was relegated from the English Football League (EFL) following the 2020-21 season. The club has played at Roots Hall since the 12,392-capacity stadium opened in 1955, but its location amid housing has meant redevelopment is not an option.

In June, the Essex club said its target was to commence the 2024-25 season from the first phase of the new stadium at Fossetts comprising, initially, the south, east and west stands that will incorporate a range of corporate and entertainment space.

The project dates back to April 2017 when United, then a League One club, submitted a detailed planning application for a new 22,000-capacity stadium to the Council. The vision for the scheme has since undergone a number of changes.