FC United picks stadium design team

Michael Hunt

The supporter-owned club, established when the Glazer family took over Manchester United Football Club in May 2005, has selected a design team to take a proposed ground and community sports development in Newton Heath, east Manchester, to planning stage.

Preston and Manchester-based Frank Whittle Partnerships has been appointed as project managers, Kath Ludlam as planning consultant, and Handforth-based Taylor Young as architects.

FWP, which has designed a 2,000-seat stand for Fleetwood Town FC, will oversee the project from start to finish including the responsibility of leading on appointments of further professionals and consultants; with regular reporting to the project board and the main FC United of Manchester board.

Ludlam, from West Didsbury-based Ludlam Associates, will oversee and deliver the planning application. FC United said her role also includes:

  • Managing the consultation with Newton Heath residents and community groups
  • Working with a range of other professionals
  • Researching and producing a series of reports from the environmental impact of the development to traffic and transport

FC United said that the design team has been assembled following "a competitive tender process" overseen by a sub-committee of the club's elected board members and general manager Andy Walsh.

FC United added that the costs for each appointment were "factored into the overall cost for the ground at the beginning of the planning process".

Walsh said: "The whole project cost is £3.5m of which we are raising £2m ourselves through public cash donations, a community shares scheme, and the rest of the £1.5m needed we hope to receive through grant funding.

"We've had some very successful consultation events with resident and community groups in the Newton Heath area which are on-going. We are gathering the information from these groups and will form our design using what has been said before we hold further consultations after the design has been complete."

Walsh could not confirm when the club will have its design complete or an exact date for when a full planning application will be submitted, but the club has targeted the end of August.

FC United said more detailed work will follow the planning application stage with the yet to be appointed building contractors.

The design team also includes:

  • Structural engineers Ian Scott-Hughes
  • Highways consultants AECOM
  • M&E consultants Beverly Clifton Morris
  • Environmental consultants TEP

FWP has also been picked as quantity surveyor on the project and law firm Cobbetts LLP is providing the club with legal support and advice. FC United said its accountants, RSM Tenon, continue to act as the club's financial advisors.

The club announced plans to develop a football ground in Newton Heath in March which proposed new and renovated community sports facilities and a multi-function community space at the 5,000-capacity stadium.

Manchester City Council owns the site being proposed for development, which is the existing Ten Acres Lane sports centre.

The club has been working closely with the council and urban regeneration company New East Manchester for the past two years to develop the plans.

Provided planning and funding is secured and subject to consultation, FC United hopes the development will be completed in the next two to three years.

Last season the club finished in eighth position in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, which is six divisions below the more lucrative Premier League.

Newton Heath is the birthplace of the Manchester United FC, the runners-up in the Premier League.

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