Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground is getting closer to having a new Kop stand built.
The club’s plans for a new Kop have been given the go-ahead by the planning committee of Wrexham Council. With the changes, the stadium will be able to hold up to 15,500 people.
Before Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought the club in 2021, fans had long dreamed of a new stand to replace the Kop, which has been abandoned for almost 15 years. Now, those dreams look like they will come true.
The planning committee was asked to look at plans for a 5,500-seat stand with a hospitality lounge, office, and retail space for the club, as well as more space for the Wrexham AFC Community Trust.
Shaun Harvey, a board advisor for the club, spoke at the meeting on behalf of the club. He said that the new stand was “desperately needed” because games at the Racecourse are now often sold out.
Mr. Harvey said that the new building would make it possible for international football to come back to Wrexham. He also said that the timing was important because the UK Government would be making a decision about “levelling up” funding by the end of this month.
He also said that the design paid tribute to the town’s history of coal mining and that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney had “put a lot of money” into the project.
Grosvenor Cllr Marc Jones (Plaid), a local member, spoke in favour of the application. He said that the new stand was “a must” for the club to move forward, so he didn’t vote, declaring an interest.
But he also voiced concerns about parking, as did another local member, Brynyffynnon Cllr Phil Wynn (Ind), who spoke on behalf of Maesgwyn residents who live nearby.
Cllr Wynn said that as a lifelong Wrexham fan, he fully supported the application. However, he gave examples of fans urinating in residential side streets and residents being verbally abused for asking match-going fans to park more considerately.
He asked for a condition that the club pay for a parking plan for game days “to keep Maesgwyn residents safe.”
Cllr. Wynn also worried about the effect that adding more hospitality facilities and exhibition space could have on the amount of phosphate in nearby rivers, which was mentioned in the report that was in front of the committee.
Matthew Phillips, a planning officer for Wrexham Council, told the committee that talks with the club and Natural Resources Wales were going well about the phosphates problem.
Overton Cllr John McCusker (Ind) was one of a number of committee members who talked about the parking problems but supported the plan because of the overall benefits.
“Let’s get this thing built, let’s get people coming to Wrexham.” he said.
The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans, giving the Chief Officer the power to deal with conditions like the club’s continued talks with Natural Resources Wales about the phosphates issue.
The club has already been given permission to tear down the run-down Kop and build new floodlights.