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Wrexham seek to boost capacity of new Kop stand

18 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Wrexham AFC Racecourse Ground Kop plans. Source – planning documents

Rory SheehanLocal Democracy Reporter

Wrexham AFC has applied to remove a planning condition that would reduce the capacity of its new Kop stand when built.

When the club gained permission nearly a year ago for the proposed 5,500 seat stand, one of the conditions agreed upon is that only 4,900 seats could be used until the impact of potential river pollution had been accurately quantified.

The football club has now submitted a planning application to Wrexham Council seeking to lift the condition due to progress made since on the treatment of phosphates locally.

A few years ago Natural Resources Wales (NRW) published new targets to reduce river phosphate levels in special areas of conservation (SAC) across Wales.

It followed concerns about an increase in phosphate concentrations – which can cause water pollution – in the country’s rivers.

While Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government and local authorities worked together to try and find a solution to the issue, a number of local planning applications had to be rejected for phosphate reasons due to proximity to the River Dee.

Last November the council’s chief planning officer was given delegated powers to deal with the conditions imposed on the Kop development, including continued talks with Natural Resources Wales on the phosphates issue.

A covering letter sent with the application by Portia Banwell of Savills on behalf of the club makes the case that this condition can now be lifted in light of developments on the issue since a permit has been issued by NRW to the nearby Five Fords Waste Water treatment works.

Spectators

The letter states: “It is clear that use of the Kop Stand at its full capacity is supported, subject to addressing the matters raised by Welsh Water.

“It is timely to remove this condition because the Five Fords Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) has been granted a permit by NRW. This means there is existing capacity with the WWTF.

“This means that the Racecourse Ground’s redeveloped Kop Stand will be able to hold the 5,500 spectators that it has been designed and approved for.”

The letter adds: “It is acknowledged that the previous capacity of the Kop Stand was evidenced at 4,900, so the restrictions only related to the net increase of 600. This would only apply to event days, and clearly would only relate to part of those days (i.e. short time before, then during and then shortly after an event).

“The Kop stand is also identified for ‘home’ supporters, a large proportion of whom are from the local area (and thus already in the catchment).

“In these circumstances it is clear that the actual impact is extremely low, and the restriction was imposed largely as a general embargo approach as opposed to identified concerns with the Kop Stand per se.

“Nevertheless, given the changes to the permitting then securing the removal of the restrictive condition to allow full capacity occupation is timely.”

Last month the club confirmed the new stand would not be ready until the 2024-25 season.

Wrexham Council planners will make a decision on the application in due course.


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