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Wrexham AFC can keep temporary Kop stand for further 18 months

09 Apr 2024 3 minute read
The Kop End and Mold Road Stand. Picture by Markbbarnes (CC BY 2.5).

Liam RandallLocal Democracy Reporter

Wrexham AFC has been given permission to keep its temporary Kop stand in place for 18 months after councillors agreed to grant more time.

It was originally proposed by officials from Wrexham Council that the 2,289-seater stand at the Racecouse Ground should only be kept in place for 12 months.

However, members of the local authority’s planning committee said that could potentially lead to it being closed before the 2024/25 season finishes.

The temporary stand was opened in December to boost capacity at the stadium to more than 12,000 and meet the demand for tickets for the League Two side’s home games.

Temporary

Approval was granted for a new permanent Kop stand containing 5,500 seats in November 2022, with work originally expected to start last summer.

Due to funding delays and site issues, owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to install a temporary stand in the short-term.

While the facility has been open since Wrexham’s 2-0 win over Newport on December 23, 2023, formal permission was not given for the temporary structure until yesterday (Monday, April 8).

Speaking at a meeting at Wrexham’s Guildhall, planning officer Gwyn Humphreys said: “This application seeks retrospective consent for a temporary stand at the Racecourse in place of the former Kop Stand.

“The capacity of the stand is approximately half that of the replacement Kop stand already benefiting from planning permission.

“In terms of the principle of development, given the former stand and the consented scheme, there are no issues in relation to the principle of development.

“The stand is noted to have a temporary appearance and it does not have high quality design features.

“However, on the basis that it is to be on site temporarily, there are no objections raised to this.”

The council’s chief planning officer initially recommended a condition should be imposed for the stand to be removed from the site off Mold Road within a year.

However, Labour group leader Dana Davies said this could pose problems for the football club, depending on when work on the new permanent Kop stand starts.

The club originally wanted to open it in time for the 2024/25 season in September, but this was pushed back due to the need to secure funding and resolve several site issues.

While a new date for work on the permanent stand to start has yet to be announced, Cllr Davies said: “If we’re minded today to grant this in retrospect, then that 12-month temporary planning permission would expire towards the end of next season.

“We could be in a position whereby our local football club is potentially fighting for hopefully another promotion.

“My understanding with the funding and the development is that it will be taking place during the summer of 2025.

“Is it more realistic to add on 14 months, rather than 12 months, to take it to the end of the season?”

Parking

Cllr Phil Wynn, who represents a residential area opposite the stadium, asked for a condition to be included for the club to create a travel plan to deal with parking problems on matchdays.

However, he was told it would not be appropriate due to a similar condition already being attached to the permanent Kop proposals.

Stansty councillor I David Bithell suggested the permission period for the temporary stand should be extended further to avoid the need for the club to reapply.

Cllr Davies agreed to his amendment and the committee unanimously agreed to approve the application for a period of 18 months.


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