Planning permission has been granted for a £1.8 million development of the Stacey West stand at Lincoln City’s LNER Stadium – and the club has also applied for a safe standing trial on the terraces.
Plans for a redevelopment of the Stacey West stand at the LNER Stadium have been in the pipeline since late-2021, with an initial vision to increase capacity by around 1,500 via a second tier of seating, as well as creating a new hub for the Lincoln City Foundation.
A total of £1.8 million had been secured through grants from the Be Lincoln Town Deal and significant investment from the Stacey West Investment Bond, but in April 2022 the Lincoln City board of directors called for a change to proposals – due to a “volatile and uncertain” economic landscape.
This resulted in the 1,500 tiered seating plans being shelved, replacing the second tier with an application for Lincoln City to be part of a trial for a return to safe standing on the terraces.
The proposal would see the entirety of the Stacey West stand installed with rail seats, spilling over into the GBM stand if the trial is a success.
Safe standing at football stadiums has been a hot discussion since legislation was brought in for all major clubs to develop all-seater stadiums, following a string of fatalities inside grounds during the 80s and 90s.
Since that legislation, supporter groups have consistently campaigned for the safe return of standing at football venues, and Lincoln City seem keen to be one of the clubs involved in a possible trial of the scheme, in the hopes that it could return in future.
The wider project will see a range of infrastructure improvements to the stadium, such as new power and water mains supplies and a pitch water recycling system.
A Community Skills and Education Hub inside the ground will serve as a base of operations for Lincoln City Foundation, helping to bridge the gap for those less fortunate and offer fit-for-purpose employability skills within the local community.
Community spaces, dedicated offices and classrooms will be at the new facility inside the Stacey West stand, and with planning permission now granted for this project, work can get underway promptly.
Martin Hickerton, chief executive at the Foundation, said: “This is fantastic news for everyone connected with the Foundation – the work we do in Lincoln and the surrounding area has never been more important.
“This will help us unlock the real potential of the Foundation and we cannot wait to watch the new building take shape.”
Charlotte Goy, Town Deal Board member and chief executive of Visit Lincoln added: “The plans we have all been looking at over the last 18 months as Town Deal Board members are starting to come to life and we can begin to realise the positive impact they will make to Lincoln.
“We are delighted that the pledges included in the Town Deal original investment plan will be delivered for the benefit of the local community.”
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