Writer: Ian De-Lar
Date:Tuesday May 14 2013
Plymouth Argyle owner James Brent has responded to the alternative proposal by the Argyle Fans' Trust Working Group for the build of the new grandstand at Home Park.
James Brent and his professional team at Akkeron devised plans for a new £10 million grandstand with work scheduled to start in September.
The grandstand, which will be built at no cost to the football club, is part of a wider development at Higher Home Park which includes a cinema, a hotel and ice rink.
However, the AFT have raised concerns about the capacity of the grandstand which would take the stadium capacity to around 17,800 and set-up of a Working Group which included Richard Jones, Linda Jenking, Phil Roberts, Pete Curno and Paul Bartolini.
The proposal submitted by the Working Group was that an additional 2,500 seats could be added to the grandstand for a cost of £800,000. It should be noted the £800,000 would have to be paid for by James Brent and his Akkeron group.
Today the club responded to the Working Group proposal and say the plans for the extra seats would cost £2.62 million and not £800,000. You have to wonder how the Working Group arrived at their figure?
Some key points raised by James Brent, he said: 'As a group of volunteers who, to my knowledge, have no experience of building similar structures, they have worked hard to find a way of adding more seats at a relatively low cost.
'However, rightly, in my view, sporting stadia are subject to detailed regulations to ensure both the safety of our fans (e.g. in relation to escape routes) and their comfort (e.g. kiosks and toilet facilities). To meet these requirements, the space required for, and the cost of, the additional seats is materially greater than the AFT Working Group have assumed.
'The proposed £10m new grandstand does show ambition for our club, but deliverable ambition.'
If Argyle ever reach the Premier League the cash windfall would enable the stadium to be expanded and James Brent also explained the plans for this, he said: 'It is also conceivable that Argyle will at some point get promoted to the Premier League for the first time in its 126-year history and we may then have regular demand that exceeds 20,000.
'Does this scenario worry me? No! It is a really high-quality problem that we all dream of. We would need to look at more radical solutions but, armed with £60-70m a year of TV money and demand for seats that was regularly greater than our capacity; these radical solutions become credible solutions.'
Hopefully, this sensible approach will now be supported by all fans and allow construction of the grandstand to commence on schedule.
The full statement can be read on the club website HERE
Date:Tuesday May 14 2013
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