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Project Preview: a major step in the future of Southend United FC

TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit has become the world’s largest gathering of project delegations involved in the design, construction, refurbishment and management of major sports venues.

With more than €10bn worth of construction already confirmed in attendance on 27-29 Nov in Barcelona, we present a more in-depth look at some of the projects showcasing at the meeting.

English League One football club Southend United recently submitted a detailed planning application for a new 22,000-capacity stadium to the Southend Borough Council.

The new ground would be built at Fossetts Farm to replace the club’s current 12,392-seat Roots Hall stadium.

Roots Hall is surrounded by housing, which has made expansion an unviable option for Southend. The club has been seeking a new stadium for a number of years.

The club said in a statement: “This submission represents a major step in the future of Southend United Football Club and we now look forward to learning the decision of the council in the coming months.

“Should the council approve the submitted plans it would be the club’s intention to commence construction without delay. The club will of course keep supporters fully advised of progress through regular bulletins.”

In June this year, Ron Martin, chairman of Southend United,  issued an update on its plans for a new stadium, with the project now set to include the construction of a hotel, flats, shops and a multi-screen cinema.

Speaking to the Echo newspaper, Martin said the Fossetts Farm initiative will be headed up by Populous, the company currently working on a new stadium for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.

Although plans have been lodged with the council and registered with planning officers, full details of the project have not yet been made available to the public, but Martin has given fans an insight into what they can expect at the new stadium.

“We have rotated the stadium through about 110 degrees, adding further protection to the nearby Garden of Remembrance, and to enable the cinema to sit adjacent to the retail at the north of the site,” Martin told the Echo.

“In doing so we have created a large public plaza linking the retail to form one comprehensive development providing a sense of place of which the town can be proud.

“The plans also provide for a Hotel by Hilton. We have not, as yet, entered into a contractual arrangement, although Hilton are the identified party and we have designed the proposal according to the Hilton’s brand requirements and specification in liaison with Hilton’s internal architects.”

Martin added: “We have provided for some 200 further residential units in three blocks next to the stadium making the whole scheme when coupled with the retail and leisure a destination of great quality with the centrepiece stadium to deliver top flight football in the town for many generations to come.”

The project is set to begin with the construction of a new training ground for the team, while the club plans to fund the first stage of the stadium section prior to vacating its current home at Roots Hall.

The site at Roots Hall will be transformed into as many as 600 new homes, with the sale of land to help fund the ongoing project.

Martin said: “We will create value via the planning application enabling us to bridge against the asset under traditional debt funding to ensure a smooth transition from Roots Hall to the new stadium.

“We will build the first phase of the stadium move and then sell Roots Hall to discharge the position.”

Meet the Southend United project team (alongside 50+ stadium projects) on site at the Summit. Register your Earlybird place (with a free hotel night) here.

Images: Echo newspaper