Aston Villa Park makes changes to plans to redevelop the North Stand and surrounding area
Aston Villa have made changes to their plans to redevelop the North Stand and surrounding area along Witton Lane ahead of their exciting £100m project
and live on Freeview channel 276
In an update issued to Birmingham City Council planners, Villa chiefs want to build a new and vastly improved club shop and ticket office within the new North Stand on the corner of Witton Lane, as well as increasing food and drink offerings, while further tweaks have been made to Villa’s very first design statement.
Back in 2021, the Premier League club put forward initial plans to build a new, multi-purpose venue just at the rear of the North Stand. The ‘Villa Live’ building was designed to house a new retail space, including the club shop, food and drink courts, room to recognise the club’s history and an outdoor space including new seating with a bar area.
However, following Christian Purslow’s departure as CEO at the end of last season, Villa’s newly-appointed business operations president, Chris Heck, announced that the ‘Villa Live’ concept would be put on hold and, instead, improvements would be made to the Academy building – formerly Stumps – along Witton Lane.
The building, which was set to be bulldozed under previous plans, will be reborn into an all-new fan zone that will be called The Warehouse. It will feature a bar, a big screen, a food courtyard and a multi-use event floor. A microbrewery will also be installed in this two-floor facility, while it’ll also host community events such as recruitment fairs and will be available for the use of school children. The building will also be capable of hosting indoor football tournaments.
Villa, meanwhile, will start demolition work on the North Stand after the big Foo Fighters gig next summer (June 27, 2024). The current Villa store and ticket office will also be bulldozed, as will the security gatehouse and outdoor broadcasting compound where the TV trucks park up. Villa also plan to demolish two structural bays of the current Academy building ahead of bringing The Warehouse to life.
The Warehouse is, however, viewed as a short-term fix in terms of fan offerings with Villa still keen on developing Villa Live, a concept likened to BOXPARK outside Wembley. In planning documents, the club have slightly amended the location of where Villa Live would sit. A planning statement reads: “The amended location of Villa Live enables the conversion and use of the Academy buildings and ensures consistency regarding the width of Villa Way – an important match/event day and community feature.
“The planning strategy for the redevelopment of Villa Park has been reworked to ensure that the North Stand can come forward for development immediately, and new proposals for the refurbishment of the Stumps Academy building and car park fulfil wider functions of Villa Live in the ‘meanwhile’ period. This scenario will allow the future delivery of Villa Live and the completion of the original consented scheme in the future.”
Changes to Villa’s North Stand redevelopment plans:
- The demolition of two existing structural bays at the Academy building (The Warehouse)
- The refurbishment of the existing Academy building and external alterations, including the creation of new accesses and windows (The Warehouse)
- Resurfacing of the existing car park
- Public realm enhancements and landscaping
- Demolition of existing club shop and ticket office
- Minor façade alterations and internal changes to the North Stand to incorporate a ticket office, shop and increased food and beverage offer
- Repositioning of the Villa Live building
- Amend existing conditions to separate the North Stand and Villa Live developments to enable works to commence on the North Stand and allow the occupation of the North Stand independent of the Villa Live elements of the permission.
- A final amendment is the retention of a plant room located in between the existing North Stand and Trinity Road Stand which was to be demolished under the original permission. This small two-storey brick building houses important mechanical and electrical equipment which would be disruptive and expensive to relocate. The amendments propose retaining this block and re-cladding it to match the proposed North Stand cladding panels, where existing windows are located these will up upgraded and this top floor will be used as media accommodation.
Birmingham City Council’s planning officers will make a decision on Villa’s new structural changes to Villa Park at next week’s council meeting (September 28).