Wrexham AFC’s 5,500-seater Kop stand on cards to get go-ahead
Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter
The new 5,500-seater Kop stand planned for Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground stadium looks set to be granted planning permission.
An application by the club for the replacement Kop will go in front of Wrexham Council’s planning committee on Monday, 7 November.
In a report to be read by councillors on the committee, the authority’s planning officers have recommended the development be given the green light.
If successful, the current derelict Kop will be replaced with a 5,500-seater stand to include a hospitality lounge, office and retail space for the club, along with facilities for the Wrexham AFC Community Trust.
It would bring all four sides of the stadium back into use for the first time since 2008.
Concerns have been raised by Offa Community Council about match day parking in the area, with residents parking permits and ‘park and ride’ schemes suggested as ways to alleviate any issues.
Other concerns include the impact the addition of hospitality facilities and exhibition space could have on local river phosphate levels.
Last year 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 are working together to try and find a solution to the issue, a number of local planning applications have recently had to be rejected for phosphate reasons – due to proximity to the River Dee.
If the Kop application is granted permission – a condition is likely to be that the football club continues talks with the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales.
The report produced by Wrexham Council’s planning department states: “The development proposed represents a significant investment in the Racecourse Ground.
“It would enhance the appearance of the site and improve the facilities offered by the Racecourse for football and other events, thus raising the overall profile of both Wrexham AFC and the City of Wrexham.
“Clearly, this proposal is of some considerable public importance. It is acknowledged that the proposed development would increase the current capacity of the existing stadia.
“However, it involves the replacement of an existing stand, which is currently out of use.
“The existing stand retains a lawful use and could be refurbished and brought back into use without the need for planning permission. This would result in a comparable spectator capacity at the Racecourse to that which arise from the current proposal.
“On this basis, the impact of the proposed development in terms of parking and traffic generation and in terms of noise and disturbance, would be broadly comparable to the effect of refurbishing the existing stand, save for the events space, which would not be available for use on match days.”
The report adds: “The new Kop stand itself would not result in a material increase in phosphorous discharges to the River Dee and Bala Lake SAC.
“Subject to the outcome of further consultation with NRW, it may be that a condition is necessary to restrict the use of these spaces until such time that a scheme of phosphorous mitigation can be secured.
“Subject to these outstanding matters being satisfactorily addressed, the development accords with the relevant UDP policies.”
The planning committee will make a decision next Monday on whether to give the Chief Officer Economy and Planning delegated authority to grant approval.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.