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Design & Development

Nottingham Forest offered chance to buy City Ground freehold

Featured image credit: Arran Bee/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Premier League football club Nottingham Forest has been offered a deal to buy the land on which its City Ground stadium sits for around £10m (€11.6m/$12.6m), it has emerged.

The Athletic has reported that Nottingham City Council would be “very happy” to negotiate with Forest on the matter. The city council owns the freehold for the stadium site and today’s (Monday’s) news comes amid continued talk of Forest potentially moving away from the City Ground, its home since 1898.

The site under consideration for a new stadium is in Toton, and this land is owned by Nottinghamshire County Council. In March, the county council backed a motion to continue to explore potential stadium options with Forest, with a Memorandum of Understanding expected to be agreed with the club.

Toton is a village on the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border where Forest is said to be considering a new 50,000-seat stadium. In an interview with The Athletic published last week, Forest chairman Tom Cartledge expressed his frustration at the lack of progress made on a new lease deal with the city council, adding that Toton is one of “several” potential spots for a new stadium.

The Toton site, which is six miles from Nottingham city centre, had been due to host a rail hub serving the HS2 high-speed railway project, the Nottinghamshire part of which has been axed.

Earlier this year, Forest warned that it could look to relocate from the City Ground amid a dispute with the city council over the lease deal for the stadium. Forest has long-held plans to redevelop the stadium but has been left frustrated in recent years by bureaucratic red tape.

City council leader David Mellen told The Athletic that Forest has an option to buy the City Ground freehold as opposed to negotiating with the council, which would make it easier for the club to expand the stadium.

Forest currently operates under a 50-year contract, struck in 2011, for the prime real estate on the banks of the River Trent.

The club is planning to expand the City Ground’s capacity from its current 29,550 to 40,000, which would see the Bridgford Stand extended by a further 5,000 seats, along with replacing the Peter Taylor Stand with a two-tier 10,000-seat structure. The club believes it requires a longer lease deal to carry out this work.

Forest is all but secured of Premier League safety going into the final weekend of the season. During Saturday’s 3-2 home defeat against Chelsea, the club’s supporters made their feelings known by chanting anti-Toton songs and expressing their desire to stay at the City Ground.