An editor writes: Please note the following story was published on April 1st. On the same day the BBC ran an item about flying penguins and the Mirror said ITV would shortly begin filming Dogs on Ice, featuring skating greyhounds.
South Staffs district council has received a planning application for a new stadium and concert venue on land at the top end of Broad Lane in Essington. The new stadium, less than half-a-mile from the new training ground, will be leased by Essington Parish Council to Walsall Football Club as part of an agreement which will see a peppercorn rent; but a 50 per cent stake in the corporate hospitality, conferences and concert business.
The area forming part of the planning application is bordered by the M6, A462, Hilton Lane and the B4156. The road junction from Broad Lane onto the A462 has just been remodelled, widened and traffic lights installed to cope with additional traffic. It is anticipated that the move will increase attendances, attracting a larger number of people from Cannock and Stafford to the club.
Away fans and people attending conferences, will be able to access the stadium through an access road from Hilton Park services, allowing the police to escort coaches on and off the motorway directly to the ground without the need for them to access the local roads.
Project managers, South Show Entertainment Ltd say the 40,000 seater stadium will built as a ring and will be separate tiers:
Tier 1 is nearest the pitch and holds 2,000. This will only be used for reserve and youth matches or when a big attendance is expected.
Tier 2 will be the “normal use” tier in the first instance. It holds 7,000.
Tier 3 is a general purpose overflow and can hold 13,000 – with variable segregation built-in so that, if necessary, this tier can be given over fully to home or away fans regardless of what fans are in that part of the ground on other tiers.
Tier 4 holds another 18,000.
There will be 1,000 additional seats available for executive / corporate sponsorship use.
It will be built in such a way as to ensure that future expansion, should it be required, could be added on.
The bulk of the seats will not be required for the football but will be necessary to sustain the venue as one of the north-Midlands’ premier concert venues, attracting music fans from Manchester, Staffordshire, Shropshire and north Wales.
If approved, work on the stadium will begin in the Autumn with the club moving in from the start of the 2010/2011 season. The club’s existing stadium will be used to expand the neighbouring retail park. As well as a new Sainsbury’s supermarket, an ice-rink will be incorporated to maintain the ‘leisure’ use aspect.
Map of proposed site here:link to location map