Wrexham AFC’s 5,500-seater Kop stand gets green light
Rory Sheehan, Local Democracy Reporter
The building of a new Kop stand at Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground has taken a step closer.
Wrexham Council’s planning committee has given the green light to the club’s proposals for a replacement Kop. The development will raise the capacity of the stadium to 15,500.
Before the club was purchased by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2021, fans had long dreamed of a new stand to replace the current Kop which has been derelict for almost 15 years, and now those dreams look set to become a reality.
The planning committee was asked to look at proposals for a 5,500-seater stand, including a hospitality lounge, office and retail space for the club, along with further facilities for the Wrexham AFC Community Trust.
Speaking at the meeting on the club’s behalf, board advisor Shaun Harvey said the new stand was “desperately needed” with games at the Racecourse now regularly sold out.
Mr Harvey said the development would pave the way for international football to return to Wrexham, and that timing was important with a UK Government decision on ‘levelling up’ funding due at the end of this month.
He added that the design paid tribute to the town’s coal mining heritage, and stated that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney had “committed significant investment” towards the development.
Local member, Grosvenor Cllr Marc Jones (Plaid), declaring an interest and withdrawing from voting on the application, spoke in support saying that for the club to progress, the new stand was “a must”.
But he also raised concerns about parking, as did fellow local member, Brynyffynnon Cllr Phil Wynn (Ind), representing Maesgwyn residents living nearby, who also spoke to the committee.
Cllr Wynn said as a lifelong Wrexham fan he fully supported the application, but cited instances of fans urinating in residential side streets and residents being verbally abused for asking match going fans to park more considerately.
He asked for a condition that the club cover the cost of a matchday parking scheme parking condition “to protect Maesgwyn residents”.
Other concerns mentioned by Cllr Wynn included the impact of additional hospitality facilities and exhibition space could have on local river phosphate levels, as mentioned in the report in front of the committee.
‘Let’s get this built’
Wrexham Council planning officer Matthew Phillips assured the committee that talks with the club and Natural Resources Wales about the phosphates issue were progressing positively.
Overton Cllr John McCusker (Ind) was one of a number of committee members who noted the parking concerns but spoke in favour citing the overall benefits.
He said: “Let’s get this thing built, let’s get people coming to Wrexham.”
The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans, giving the Chief Officer delegated powers to deal with conditions, such as the club’s continued talks with Natural Resources Wales on the phosphates issue.
The club already has permission for the demolition of the derelict Kop, and for construction of new floodlights.
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