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Stadium expansion plans: League One

League One contains many of English football’s ‘sleeping giants’, a substantial number of whom have plans for stadium improvements.

AFC Wimbledon stadium plans

AFC Wimbledon stadium plans

AFC Wimbledon

  • Kingsmeadow
  • Capacity: 4,850
  • Opened: 1989

Kingsmeadow was built by Kingstonian FC, who exclusively played at the ground until AFC Wimbledon moved in to share it with them following their foundation in 2002.

The phoenix club bought the leasehold on the stadium the following year, allowing Kingstonian to remain on as tenants until this year, and funded construction of a new 1,000-seater stand during this time.

The club’s ambition has always been to move back to its home borough of Merton, though, a dream which is finally set to come to fruition with construction of a brand-new all-seater stadium on the site of the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium.

The dog track closed in March 2017 with Galliard Homes set to build 602 flats on the site.

A planning application for the stadium, set to cost £16m, was approved in December 2015 by Merton Council – and communities secretary Sajid Javid decided not to call in the plans in September 2016, paving the way for construction to begin.

It will have a capacity of 11,000, with the ability to expand to 20,000 if required.

Club chief executive Erik Samuelson said this month that he was cautious about putting a timescale on construction, but said he anticipated having agreement between stakeholders “in the very near future”.

There is still a decision pending from Historic England, too, on whether the Wimbledon Greyhound Stadium should be listed.

The club is undertaking a two-stage tender process for the contract to build the stadium.

Stadium surge: What you need to know

Read CN’s in-depth analysis of where this lucrative market is heading.

CREDIT Ronnie MacDonald_Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park

CREDIT Ronnie MacDonald_Blackburn Rovers Ewood Park

Source: Ronnie MacDonald

Blackburn Rovers

  • Ewood Park
  • Capacity: 31,367
  • Opened: 1882

Since Venky’s took over Blackburn Rovers investment in the playing staff has declined – and with the club dropping into League One this season and attendances dwindling, any upgrades to the ground look unlikely in the extreme.

CREDIT Jay Jerry_Blackpool FC Bloomfield Road

CREDIT Jay Jerry_Blackpool FC Bloomfield Road

Source: Jay Jerry

Blackpool

  • Bloomfield Road
  • Capacity: 17,338
  • Opened: 1899

Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road underwent significant redevelopment in the late 2000s and early 2010s prior to the club’s promotion to the Premier League, creating a permanent all-seater stadium.

Delays to some of the redevelopment phases became a bone of contention among fans with the club’s owners, and relations have continued to become strained following the club’s relegation to League Two, despite much of the work being completed.

CREDIT Steve Walker_Bradford FC

CREDIT Steve Walker_Bradford FC

Source: Steve Walker

Bradford City

  • Valley Parade
  • Capacity: 25,136
  • Opened: 1886

Another of England’s 19th-century football grounds, Valley Parade has been home to Bradford City since their formation.

A number of stands were altered after the Valley Parade fire in 1985, with further capacity added in the 1990s after the switch to all-seater.

There were further plans to increase capacity before the club fell into administration in 2002, after which no development has taken place.

CREDIT Chris Clements_Bristol Rovers Memorial Ground

CREDIT Chris Clements_Bristol Rovers Memorial Ground

Source: Chris Clements

Bristol Rovers

  • Memorial Stadium
  • Capacity: 12,300
  • Opened: 1921

Bristol Rovers’ efforts to redevelop their existing ground or move to a new stadium have been an ongoing saga.

Buckingham Group first priced the construction of a new stadium on the existing site 13 years ago, according to director Kevin Underwood, with construction expected to begin in 2008 on a scheme that was part-funded by new student accommodation. The student accommodation provider pulled out though, and then once the financial crisis hit the development was put on hold.

Next, the club developed a plan to relocate to the proposed UWE Stadium, selling the Memorial Ground site to Sainsbury’s to fund it. Sainsbury’s pulled out of that agreement in 2014, however, and were taken to court by Rovers, with the supermarket winning and leaving the club to bear the costs of the case.

This again put the project in doubt, but the club is doing better on the field now having recovered from a spell outside the football league, with Mr Underwood telling CN: “The information we’re getting is that, hopefully, there’ll be a build on shortly and it will finally get going.”

CREDIT Matthew Wilinson_Bury FC Gigg Lane

CREDIT Matthew Wilinson_Bury FC Gigg Lane

Source: Matthew Wilinson

Bury

  • Gigg Lane
  • Capacity: 11,840
  • Opened: 1885

Bury chairman Stewart Day announced in October 2016 that the club is planning to move into a new 15,000-20,000-capacity stadium by the beginning of the 2018/19 season.

The council are reportedly supportive, and Mr Day told Sky Sports News: “We’re in negotiations with the landowners to try to get that finalised. It’s in the infancy really but there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes, trying to get the infrastructure into place.”

The new stadium would increase non-matchday facilities to provide new revenue streams for the club.

In April this year, Mr Day told the Bury Times the club had held “very positive” discussions with the local council over the plans, with a planning application for the redevelopment of Gigg Lane imminent.

CREDIT Paul Arps_Charlton Athletic The Valley

CREDIT Paul Arps_Charlton Athletic The Valley

Charlton Athletic

  • The Valley
  • Capacity: 27,111
  • Opened: 1919

Charlton Atheltic’s stadium was extensively redeveloped in the 1990s, and while occasional plans for further expansion or even complete relocation have been mooted since, nothing has come to pass.

With relations between fans and the club’s owners at an extremely low ebb, any development seems unlikely.

CREDIT Kevin Neagle_Doncaster Rovers Keepmoat Stadium

CREDIT Kevin Neagle_Doncaster Rovers Keepmoat Stadium

Source: Kevin Neagle

Doncaster Rovers

  • Keepmoat Stadium
  • Capacity: 15,231
  • Opened: 2006

Doncaster Rovers’ stadium is sponsored on a long-term naming rights deal by housebuilder Keepmoat.

There are currently no plans to expand it further.

CREDIT John Lord_Fleetwood Town Highbury Stadium

CREDIT John Lord_Fleetwood Town Highbury Stadium

Source: John Lord

Fleetwood Town

  • Highbury Stadium
  • Capacity: 5,327
  • Opened: 1939

Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium underwent significant redevelopment in 2008 and 2010, with stands demolished and rebuilt.

No further development is currently planned.

CREDIT Paul Wilkinson_Gillingham FC Priestfield

CREDIT Paul Wilkinson_Gillingham FC Priestfield

Source: Paul Wilkinson

Gillingham

  • Priestfield Stadium
  • Capacity: 11,582
  • Opened: 1893

Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium was redeveloped in the 1990s, but there have been proposals in place to move the team away from their historic home since at least 2003, with chairman Paul Scally saying the club had “no future” in their current home.

In March this year, Mr Scally laid out plans for a new stadium at Mill Hill in Gillingham, describing it as the “only chance” of keeping the club in Medway – or of the team developing.

He said he was still negotiating with partners for funding and was hopeful a conclusion could be reached “in the next couple of months”.

CREDIT Sam Town_Milton Keynes Dons Stadium MK

CREDIT Sam Town_Milton Keynes Dons Stadium MK

Source: Sam Town

Milton Keynes Dons

  • Stadium mk
  • Capacity: 30,500
  • Opened: 2007

A stadium indelibly associated with its controversial main tenants, Milton Keynes Dons, Stadium mk was last expanded in 2011/12 to take its capacity up to current levels.

There are further options to add a third tier and increase capacity to 45,000 in future.

CREDIT Matt Churchill_Northampton Town Sixfields

CREDIT Matt Churchill_Northampton Town Sixfields

Source: Matt Churchill

Northampton Town

  • Sixfields
  • Capacity: 7,798
  • Opened: 1994

The expansion of the East Stand at Sixfields began in 2013, but wasn’t completed as planned in time for the start of the 2014/15 season.

Buckingham Group downed tools on the project after claims of not being paid, with a shell of a stand remaining in place ever since.

In March this year the club said it had taken a “big step” closer to restarting work after agreeing a legal deal over a crucial parcel of land owned by CDNL, the company set up to oversee the project that went into liquidation in 2015.

Work is still far from completion, however.

CREDIT Footyzone_Oldham Athletic

CREDIT Footyzone_Oldham Athletic

Source: Footyzone

Oldham Athletic

  • Boundary Park
  • Capacity: 13,500
  • Opened: 1904

Boundary Park was renovated in 2014/15 after years of trying, with a new North Stand built and fully operational by the end of 2015.

This appears to have put an end to rumours that Oldham would look to move away from their home of 113 years.

CREDIT Dominic Brewin_Oxford United

CREDIT Dominic Brewin_Oxford United

Source: Dominic Brewin

Oxford United

  • Kassam Stadium
  • Capacity: 12,500
  • Opened: 2001

The Kassam Stadium, with only three stands, opened in 2001 to replace Oxford United’s Manor Ground.

The stadium is still officially owned by ex-Oxford owner Firoz Kassam, who declined to allow the club to build a temporary fourth stand for a match against local rivals Swindon Town this season despite the local council granting planning permission.

Any attempts to redevelop or expand the ground, particularly by building a permanent fourth stand, will require Mr Kassam’s co-operation in future, although he has said that he might be willing to sell the stadium in the past.

CREDIT John Lord_Peterborough United London Road

CREDIT John Lord_Peterborough United London Road

Source: John Lord

Peterborough United

  • London Road Stadium
  • Capacity: 15,314
  • Opened: 1913

Peterborough United have steadily upgraded their ground stand-by-stand whenever required by the Football League.

The Moy’s End redevelopment opened in 2014 and there are plans to revamp the London Road end, too.

CREDIT Barry Lewis_Plymouth Argyle Home Park

CREDIT Barry Lewis_Plymouth Argyle Home Park

Source: Barry Lewis

Plymouth Argyle

  • Home Park
  • Capacity: 16,388
  • Opened: 1893

Plymouth Argyle’s home for more than 120 years last saw major work in 2001, when Barr Construction undertook a wholesale rebuild of three stands.

There were plans to redevelop the stadium again as part of England’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup, but the plans were shelved after the bid failed.

There are now £5m proposals in place to redevelop the Grandstand – the last of the stands to be improved – and club chairman James Brent said in April this year that plans would be unveiled this summer, with an aim to start on site in Q1 of this year.

CREDIT Rob Smith_Portsmouth Fratton Park

CREDIT Rob Smith_Portsmouth Fratton Park

Source: Rob Smith

Portsmouth

  • Fratton Park
  • Capacity: 21,100
  • Opened: 1898

Portsmouth’s well-known financial difficulties in recent years, coupled with a slide down the Football League, put paid to plans to build a new stadium on different sites in the city.

It’s fair to say that the club’s priorities were re-focused elsewhere once the drop into League Two was confirmed.

But the club is now on a more even keel, and having gained promotion to League One as champions this season, ground redevelopment proposals could yet resurface – especially as former Walt Disney chief executive Michael Eisner is set to take over the club.

CREDIT Matthew Wilkinson_Rochdale Spotland

CREDIT Matthew Wilkinson_Rochdale Spotland

Source: Matthew Wilkinson

Rochdale

  • Spotland Stadium (Crown Oil Arena)
  • Capacity: 10,500
  • Opened: 1920

Rochdale bought their stadium outright in 2016 and agreed their first-ever naming rights deal for the ground in the summer.

Like many other clubs at this level, small-scale upgrades have been made over the years but no major redevelopment plans are currently in the pipeline.

CREDIT Chris Page_Rotherham United ASSAEL New York Stadium

CREDIT Chris Page_Rotherham United ASSAEL New York Stadium

Source: Chris Page

Rotherham United

  • ASSAEL New York Stadium
  • Capacity: 12,021
  • Opened: 2012

GMI Construction Group built Rotherham United’s 12,000-seater stadium which opened in 2012.

The club apparently researched the cost of expanding the ground following promotion to the Championship in 2015 – but with the club relegated back to League One this season and the ground often operating well below capacity, any work seems unlikely in the short term.

CREDIT Central Line_Scunthorpe United Glanford Park

CREDIT Central Line_Scunthorpe United Glanford Park

Source: Central Line

Scunthorpe United

  • Glanford Park
  • Capacity: 9,088
  • Opened: 1988

Scunthorpe United had plans to build a brand new stadium at Lincolnshire Lakes, a new mixed-use regeneration on the western outskirts of Scunthorpe.

Problems over acquiring land pushed the project back though, with Buckingham Group in line to undertake construction.

Chairman Peter Swann said in a recent interview with BBC Radio Humberside that the original Lincolnshire Lakes site was no longer viable, but that the club had identified a new location close by and aimed to start work before the end of this year.

CREDIT Matt Churchill_Shrewsbury Town

CREDIT Matt Churchill_Shrewsbury Town

Source: Matt Churchill

Shrewsbury Town

  • New Meadow
  • Capacity: 9,875
  • Opened: 2007

With attendances well below capacity since the New Meadow’s opening 10 years ago, there are no plans for redevelopment or expansion in the foreseeable future.

Southend United_Roots Hall

Southend United_Roots Hall

Southend United

  • Roots Hall
  • Capacity: 12,392
  • Opened: 1955

Southend United first made plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm in the 1990s, receiving full planning permission in 2008.

The development soon stalled, until April this year when the club submitted new, detailed plans for a 22,000-seater stadium, a hotel and apartments.

In a statement at the time, the club said: “Should the council approve the submitted plans it would be the club’s intention to commence construction without delay.”

CREDIT Sam Town_Walsall Bescot Stadium

CREDIT Sam Town_Walsall Bescot Stadium

Source: Sam Town

Walsall

  • Bescot Stadium
  • Capacity: 11,300
  • Opened: 1990

Plans were proposed to redevelop a stand at Walsall, part-funded by a large advertising hoarding on its back which would face the M6 motorway and be the largest sign of its kind in Europe.

When the club failed to regain promotion to the Championship, however, the plans were put on hold and do not look set to be revived while the club remains in League One.

CREDIT Dan Farrimond_Wigan Athletic DW Stadium

CREDIT Dan Farrimond_Wigan Athletic DW Stadium

Source: Dan Farrimond

Wigan Athletic

  • DW Stadium
  • Capacity: 25,133
  • Opened: 1999

Home to Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors rugby league club, there are no plans to expand the DW Stadium.

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