Safe Standing Coming To The Bank

The club has issued a statement regarding the Stacey West Development, which has been hit by the current economic situation.

There is now a degree of clarity, with a further change from the last announcement. There will no longer be a desire to include a hospitality suite, with the original three-tier plan now shifting to two-tier. That will include the proposed new office space for the Foundation, whose amazing work really does change lives in the community. That’s something I know they desperately need as they currently operate out of the old ticket office, which doesn’t have enough desk space for the club’s associated charity arm.

However, one of the biggest pieces of news will be the inclusion of rail seating. The club have applied to trial safe-standing in a small section of the new stand, with the intention of installing rail seating throughout the stand if it is a success. In another area of the ground, there will also be barrier placed in Upper 7 to facilitate the safe standing of our own supporters. 

It’s nice to get an update on the current situation, and having seen the work the Foundation do first hand, I place greater importance on them having a better space. Remember the money for this project was raised partly through the bond scheme, but a significant portion has come form grants – this isn’t coming out of the club’s first-team playing budget. Of course, the potential for safe standing, and the possibility of increasing the capacity to 11,500 as a result, is a huge step forward if we are to sustain league One football, and should be weclomed.

This is the club statement in full.

The club board, in partnership with the Red Imps Community Trust, is now able to provide an update on the Stacey West Stand redevelopment.

Against the acute backdrop of an economic climate that has further weakened, and which remains both challenging and volatile, this project has presented many challenges which were unforeseen at its outset three years ago. Despite this, the board’s non-negotiable position on investment remains unchanged – firmly and responsibly committed to growth and progress, but without placing the financial future of the club at risk.

Following a further project review, the board concluded that the original proposal would present an unacceptable risk to this commitment. Nevertheless, it remains absolutely dedicated to investing in infrastructure, and to delivering on the original project objectives – increasing capacity, improving fan experience and creating new community facilities.

Therefore, to maximise the £1.8m already secured from various grant funds and investment from supporters and investors alike, the project will now proceed with a two-tier development, omitting a proposed third-tier hospitality suite, demonstrating that the club remains fully committed to increasing its social impact in the community through the vital work delivered by Lincoln City Foundation.

Building a new Community Skills and Education Hub will help tackle the growing skills gap in the city by providing the Foundation with a fit-for-purpose facility from which it can champion the delivery of education and employability skills, all under the brand of the football club. The contemporary new-build will offer community space, offices and dedicated classrooms, enabling the club to increase its social impact value and improve the quality of life of local residents through its wide range of educational, health and well-being initiatives.

Following a successful pilot scheme in early 2022 and a recent landmark change in legislation, the club will seize upon this new opportunity by investing in rail seating. Working closely with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the club have submitted an application to trial ‘safe-standing’ in a small section of the Stacey West Stand – with the intention of installing rail seats throughout the entire stand should the trial be successful.

In addition, the club will install barriers in Upper 7 of the GBM Stand to facilitate the safe-standing of supporters in that area. If successful, along with improving stadium aesthetics and fan experience, this significant investment in infrastructure would place Lincoln City as a leading player in safe-standing at football stadia in England, and also offer the potential to increase the LNER Stadium capacity to 11,500.

The project will also benefit from some key infrastructure improvements including:

  • Investment in a new mains water supply to the LNER Stadium, addressing the much-needed demand for improved services for supporters
  • Investment in power supply to the LNER Stadium, part of a longer-term strategic plan to become more energy-efficient, which will also enable other further plans such as enhancements to the University of Lincoln Fan Village
  • Investment in a new, state-of-the-art recycling irrigation system which aims to re-use up to 50% of the water used to irrigate the fibre sand pitch, providing much-needed economic and environmental benefits and a major step forward as part of the club’s climate action plan
    The matchday experience will be further enhanced by using the new Hub in other ways such as a social space, a shelter for vulnerable fans, family activities or a multi-faith prayer room.

In line with the board’s vision to have a home that is contemporary, accessible, has soul and reflects the strength of the club’s ambition, this project is just one of many potential investments into infrastructure from a maintained list of future opportunities to upgrade the stadium as part of a longer-term plan. It also demonstrates the club’s agility to adapt to the changing economic landscape while remaining fully committed to the board’s vision for the club. The board expect to submit a revised planning application imminently and hope to begin work in the new year.

The Red Imps Community Trust and club boards both remain confident they can deliver a newly developed Stacey West Stand to be proud of and will provide further updates as progress is made.

Thank you for your ongoing support for this project and the club.

Clive Nates, chairman, Lincoln City Football Club
Rob Bradley, chairman, The Red Imps Community Trust