Lincoln City FC Directors have downsized plans for the redevelopment of the iconic Stacey West Stand at the LNER Stadium.
Original plans for the stand included an extra tier with a hospitality suite, boosting capacity by around 1,500, but due to the current economic climate, the project will now proceed as a two-tier development.
In a press statement, the club said: “Against the acute backdrop of an economic climate that has further weakened, and which remains both challenging and volatile, this project has presented many challenges which were unforeseen at its outset three years ago. Despite this, the board’s non-negotiable position on investment remains unchanged – firmly and responsibly committed to growth and progress, but without placing the financial future of the club at risk.
“Following a further project review, the board concluded that the original proposal would present an unacceptable risk to this commitment. Nevertheless, it remains absolutely dedicated to investing in infrastructure, and to delivering on the original project objectives – increasing capacity, improving fan experience and creating new community facilities.
“Therefore, to maximise the £1.8m already secured from various grant funds and investment from supporters and investors alike, the project will now proceed with a two-tier development, omitting a proposed third-tier hospitality suite, demonstrating that the club remains fully committed to increasing its social impact in the community through the vital work delivered by Lincoln City Foundation.
“Building a new Community Skills and Education Hub will help tackle the growing skills gap in the city by providing the Foundation with a fit-for-purpose facility from which it can champion the delivery of education and employability skills, all under the brand of the football club. The contemporary new-build will offer community space, offices and dedicated classrooms, enabling the club to increase its social impact value and improve the quality of life of local residents through its wide range of educational, health and well-being initiatives.
“Following a successful pilot scheme in early 2022 and a recent landmark change in legislation, the club will seize upon this new opportunity by investing in rail seating. Working closely with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the club have submitted an application to trial ‘safe-standing’ in a small section of the Stacey West Stand – with the intention of installing rail seats throughout the entire stand should the trial be successful.
“In addition, the club will install barriers in Upper 7 of the GBM Stand to facilitate the safe-standing of supporters in that area. If successful, along with improving stadium aesthetics and fan experience, this significant investment in infrastructure would place Lincoln City as a leading player in safe-standing at football stadia in England, and also offer the potential to increase the LNER Stadium capacity to 11,500.
The project will also benefit from some key infrastructure improvements including:
• Investment in a new mains water supply to the LNER Stadium, addressing the much- needed demand for improved services for supporters
• Investment in power supply to the LNER Stadium, part of a longer-term strategic plan to become more energy-efficient, which will also enable other further plans such as enhancements to the University of Lincoln Fan Village
• Investment in a new, state-of-the-art recycling irrigation system which aims to re-use up to 50% of the water used to irrigate the fibre sand pitch, providing much-needed economic and environmental benefits and a major step forward as part of the club’s climate action plan
T”he matchday experience will be further enhanced by using the new Hub in other ways such as a social space, a shelter for vulnerable fans, family activities or a multi-faith prayer room.
“In line with the board’s vision to have a home that is contemporary, accessible, has soul and reflects the strength of the club’s ambition, this project is just one of many potential investments into infrastructure from a maintained list of future opportunities to upgrade the stadium as part of a longer-term plan.”