Stoke City: Images released of Britannia Stadium expansion
HERE is the first glimpse of what the Britannia Stadium will look like if the south-west (scoreboard) corner of the ground is filled in with extra seating.
Plans, submitted on behalf of the club by Manchester-based AFL Architects, are now with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and will be voted on in the new year.
If or when permission is granted, the club will then decide whether to push ahead with a project costing several million pounds and representing the first significant change to the stadium since it was opened in 1997.
Chairman Peter Coates has already stressed that the club is still keeping its options open as to whether the final go-ahead will be given to the stadium expansion.
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But with planning permission granted, the club could begin work as early as next summer.
The plans show that the new corner would add 1,780 extra seats in the south-east corner of the ground – between the South Stand and Seddon Stand – and so increase overall capacity to 30,172.
There will also be provision for another 18 wheelchairs and 18 helpers on a dedicated high-level platform.
The club intends to use the new seating primarily for families, which are currently accommodated in the end section of the Seddon Stand.
The new structure will maintain the current gradients in the stands either side: ie a shallow gradient in the front 13 rows followed by a sharper rise from row 14 through to row 38 at the back of the stands.
Four new turnstiles will be installed to increase pedestrian flow into the ground before kick-off.
The design essentially mirrors the one existing filled-in corner – between the Seddon and Boothen End stands – and when complete will leave one structure covering three sides of the stadium.
The intention of the architects is to leave the stadium looking as though it was originally designed and built with the corner filled in.
The giant TV screen currently occupying the bank of land in the open south-east corner will be moved to the opposite corner of the stadium between the Q-railing and Boothen End Stands.
The 5m by 4m screen will sit on the roof of a new TV studio which the club has to construct to comply with new Premier League regulations ahead of next season's bigger TV deal.
The entire structure will be two-thirds the height of the existing Q-railing Stand and so will not overlook any neighbouring property. It might act as a wind shield however.
Indeed, just about the only question the application does not answer is whether the new arrangements will warm up the stadium.
Answer: Well it can't get any colder.
And will the application succeed? There seems little reason to anticipate too many problems given the relatively small increase in capacity and traffic.
And with the case officer assigned to the application going by the name of Thomas Coates, it would appear to be in good hands.
Finally, of course, any new corner might require a name, and suggestions are already flooding in on some website forums.
How about Coates Corner? Or the Tony Pulis Stand?
Or if a certain yoghurt company could be persuaded to join in, what about the Muller Fruit Corner?