A HISTORIC football club in Leeds will expand its stadium capacity by a quarter as it heads into a new era.
Planning chiefs have today (Thursday) approved plans for Guiseley AFC to build new spectator terracing to three sides of its ground at Nethermoor Park, as well as a new turnstile and toilets.
An earlier blueprint for a new clubhouse was withdrawn and a revised proposal for a new clubhouse - potentially shared with the neighbouring cricket club - is expected to be submitted.
The football club is redeveloping its stadium, which has been its home for more than a century, in a bid to meet Football League rules following its promotion to the Vanarama National League, known as the conference.
Today’s meeting of Leeds City Council’s South and West Plans Panel was told: “It’s good for the city, it’s good for the town, it’s good for the local community.”
League rules say the club must have a 4,000 capacity by March next year. Currently it has room for 3,000.
There had been 61 objections to the proposals, but also 95 letters of support, ahead of this afternoon’s meeting at Leeds Civic Hall.
The meeting was told that the club’s existing buildings are “somewhat dated and well past their best”.
There was acknowledgement that there are “significant issues” with parking in surrounding streets on matchdays,
But it was noted that any anticipated increases in parking would be related to the club’s success rather than to the redevelopment plans.
“They will attract more away visitors, and there will be a bit more local interest,” the panel was told.
Councillors were told the design of the refurbished stadium will be a more “unified” one and will “enhance” the appearance of the ground from outside.
Panel member Mick Coulson told colleagues: “For Guiseley to have got where they have is fantastic.
“They have to have what we have in front of us. Admittedly it’s had to go piecemeal, which is unfortunate.
“But they are doing it with the cricket club, and that is better for the whole of Guiseley.
“This is so important that if Guiseley do not get what they are asking for, they will not be allowed to play in that higher division and all that hard work will be wasted.”
The panel approved the blueprint in principle, but deferred and delegated final approval to senior officers subject to the signing of a community contributions package and additional conditions relating to an external perimeter fence.