Lincoln City’s board of directors remain committed to investing £1.8 million into a redevelopment of the Stacey West Stand – which would include a new community hub and a safe-standing trial.
Plans for a redevelopment of the Stacey West Stand at Lincoln City Football Club’s LNER Stadium have been in place for over a year – but it hasn’t been plain sailing.
Initial proposals were for a second tier of seating to be added to the stand, boosting capacity by around 1,500, as well as creating a new hub for the community work of the club inside the stand.
The project has been fronted by the club board in partnership with the Red Imps Community Trust, and £1.8 million has been secured from various grant funds and investments for it to go ahead.
However, in April this year the Lincoln City board of directors recognised a “volatile and uncertain” economic landscape and proposed to alter their plans.
Despite these financial obstacles, the board has maintained a “non-negotiable” position in terms of investment into the stadium, so long as it doesn’t place the “financial future of the club at risk.”
A further project review concluded that the original plans would “present an unacceptable risk” to the financial stability of Lincoln City.
This means that the 1,500 seat increase of a second tier will be shelved, instead submitting an application to trial ‘safe-standing’ within a small section of the Stacey West Stand.
A new Community Skills and Education Hub will go ahead, however, with the club saying it will “help tackle the growing skills gap in the city”.
The hub will do this by offering community space, offices and dedicated classrooms, allowing an increase in social impact value and bidding to improve the quality of life of the local residents.
It will now be a two-tier development, relegating a third-tier proposal for a new hospitality suite – putting the original project objectives of capacity increase, community facilities and improved fan experience at the forefront.
Other areas of the stadium will benefit from this project also, as barriers are to be installed in Upper 7 of the GBM Stand – facilitating the safe-standing of supporters.
If this pilot is successful, Lincoln City would be a leading player in safe-standing options for football fans in England, as well as offering the potential to boost the LNER Stadium capacity to around 11,500.
There will also be key infrastructure improvements, such as investment in a new mains water supply, recycling irrigation system and power supply.