Weston AFC announce exciting Optima Stadium development plans
- Credit: Weston AFC
Weston AFC have announced exciting plans to help secure their future and provide new facilities for supporters and the local community as part of a major redevelopment to The Optima Stadium.
This will provide the club with a platform, and quest, as they look to become the only full-time professional club in North Somerset.
There will be a construction of 99 apartments, located on the eastern part of the site, next to Winterstoke Road.
This will enable improvements to the football, hospitality and event facilities on the site and will benefit all involved with the club.
The stadium will be set up to future proof their on-pitch progression, and with a new stand, which will replace the current Optima Stand, enabled to add 750 seats being put in.
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There will also be work to achieve extra terraces, at stage one, and secure the capability of achieving a further 2,000 seats and extend the ground capacity to 5,000, which is the requirement to stay in League Two.
The new club facilities will include new changing rooms, a physio room, gym, hospitality and function rooms, as well as a new sports bar and a restaurant, which will be open seven days a week.
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These new provisions, along with the existing 3G all-weather pitch, will make the stadium an integral community facility for healthy living, activity and mental health support.
The facilities will be built first, where everything will be able to operate as normal, including all home fixtures played at The Optima during all phases of construction, which will be then followed by the residential development.
Once built, the development will create additional jobs in catering, hospitality and leisure.
Because of the importance of the situation, Weston have engaged with experienced consultants to progress the project.
The Seagulls plan to submit a planning application to the North Somerset Council by June, where they will be consulting with key stakeholders including supporters, neighbouring businesses and residents.
The club are notifying their neighbours to keep them updated with the process.
And a survey, which Weston urge all stakeholders to complete at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WestonAFC will be followed by a further round of consultation, which will mostly be online through the club's website and is scheduled to start in the early stages of May.
It will also create a much-needed health and activity community hub, within walking distance for so many of the local residents.
"From when Weston AFC reformed in 1948, it was playing at the Great Ground, Locking Road, I was watching them play on this ground, the goalkeeper at the time used to take me to watch," said club chairman Paul Bliss.
"The Great Ground was purchased for development and the club was forced to leave, as it was not owned by the club.
"The club was fortunate enough to have the owners of the Royal Pottery, who also owned the adjacent land, they renamed the site Langford Road, where they had a Nissen Hut which was the bar and skittle alley.
"This site was also then used for development and the club were forced to move again. This move took them to Woodspring Park in 1983 where they were given a 30-year lease by the council.
"I bought the club in 1986 and sometime later negotiated a land swap and extension to our lease to a 99-year lease.
"This lease was key for the final move to Woodspring Stadium in 2004, this move allowed the club to split the proceeds of sale of the land to Barratts on a 50/50 basis with the council.
"This was the first move that meant the club owned its own site, this is now key to the final development that we are now proposing.
"This development will mean that the funds from the sale of the residential development can be reinvested into the club facilities and achieve our aspirations of playing at the highest level possible."