Stockport County plans to create a new 140-space matchday car park next to its Edgeley Park home.
The club – which returns to the Football League next season after an 11-year absence – has submitted proposals to demolish the old Edgeley and Shaw Heath Labour club to make way for the new facility.
Situated behind the Railway End, the one-acre plot is also home to a disused bowling green and pavilions. The Hatters want to knock down the ‘dilapidated’ buildings to widen access to site and use it as a temporary surface-level car park for the next three years.
County say there is an ‘urgent need’ to increase car parking capacity at the ground, particularly due to an expected greater media presence at the site on match days following their promotion.
The car park will be for the use of players, officials and television crews, as well as club employees and those using the club’s hospitality space. It will not be open to members of the general public.
The club says it represents ‘the first step in the club’s five-year growth strategy’ including an initial stage of wider stadium improvement works.
County’s non-executive chairman Ken Knott said in a statement: “Part of our five-year growth strategy, the plans have been submitted to help to ease pressures felt by the club and the local community on match days.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time at the club as we head towards our first League Two match at the end of July, and this is one of the necessary improvements to ease that transition into the English Football League.”
A document submitted in support of the application says the proposals would see ‘significant investment in an important asset for sport and recreation in the borough’.
It adds: “Owing to the club’s promotion and future growth, further car parking is required for persons employed by/affiliated with the club, such as players, officials, and television crew, particularly as there will now be a greater media presence at the site on match days.
“The car parking may also be used by persons who have booked the club’s hospitality space or for hospitality guests at other major non-match day events such as weddings and conferences.”
County want all ‘operational parking’ on club land in order not to ‘create on-street parking pressures in the immediate vicinity of Edgeley Park.
Docments add: “The proposal to use the site as a temporary car park will alleviate the future pressure that will be placed on the existing Cheadle Car Park and the surrounding streets by providing additional car parking spaces accessible to persons associated with the club and will cater for the increased media presence associated with the club’s promotion to League Two.
“Critically, the proposals represent the first step in the club’s 5 year growth strategy, which will comprise a range of wider stadium improvement works.”
In March the council granted County a 250-year-lease on their Edgeley Park home, securing football at the ground for generations to come.
The council retains the freehold on the ground, meaning it retains ‘strategic control’ while recouping its previous investment.
At the time County CEO Jonathan Vaughan expressed his ‘delight’ over the £2.1m lease, saying it would allow the club to focus on the long-term ‘whilst having a positive impact on the town and its people’.