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QUESTIONS: Answers on new stadium plans

20 December 2013

A list of questions on first plans for the new stadium answered by our panel of club and external representatives

Following today's announcement with regards to the club's new stadium project, please see below a list of questions and responses with regards to first plans.


Tim Fisher – CCFC Chief Executive
Steve Waggott – CCFC Development Director 
Eleanor Deeley – CBRE (Real Estate Agent)
Phil Osbourne – AFLS+P (Architects)

What is the inspiration behind the outer design?

We are looking to provide a retro approach to the stadium design but incorporate contemporary materials and construction techniques in its delivery. It is important we are capturing the emotion and memories of days gone by and then use these to assist in creating a togetherness and spirit within and around the new stadium.

Fans will be encouraged to pass through a specially designed fans zone as they approach the stadium, with its design being influenced by the fans following a consultation process. The stadium façades have been designed to be welcoming and will encourage the fans to enter the stadium with views in to the concourses and accommodation within.

Imagery of players, managers and club success from the past will adorn the stadium envelope. A strong highly visual entrance to the main stand has been introduced to re-enforce the clubs identification and branding and also welcome fans and visitors to the stadium.

The stadium envelope has been designed to ensure the atmosphere generated during the games is retained within the stadium. This will be achieved by the roof design focusing the atmosphere towards the pitch and around the stadium arena and this is also further in-forced by the close proximity of the fans to the pitch.

Sustainable design will also influence the construction methods adopted on the stadium and the finish material choices will also follow the green agenda. Recycled and local sourced material will be selected were appropriate.

The new stadium will be the ‘Signature of the Club’

- Phil Osbourne

Where will the stadium be built?

The stadium will likely be built on one of two sites for which we are currently bidding. The planning process is rigorous and we must manage the project risk accordingly. As such we are targeting more than a single site. It would be too risky to simply close in on one site.

The size of the plot is key given that the stadium build is only Phase One of the whole project. For Phase Two we will introduce the Academy and first team training facilities. We have a unique opportunity to consolidate all our physical resources on one site.

The stadium and Academy site will also be a community hub and will promote sport, health, education, employment and training, social enterprise and social inclusion for all. 

- Tim Fisher

The stadium will be an all-embracing facility for front line services, local businesses and the community and the main aim is that it is used 365 days a year for a range of programmes and projects.

We need a minimum of 30 acres for the stadium build itself plus an additional eight acres to include the Academy infrastructure based on the requirements highlighted by research that has been carried out.

We have located two sites that meet these needs and are in advanced stages of negotiation on both.

- Steve Waggott

Why are you not able to release the site details?

We are currently in the middle of commercial discussions regarding the acquisition of the sites for the stadium and the academy and it would be prejudicial to these discussions to release this information before the control of these was obtained.  We are very much focused on the delivery of a new stadium and are well experienced in the development of large complex projects and we would not want to compromise the delivery of the stadium. 

We will be releasing information about the sites as soon as is possible but property deals are complex and are very much dependent upon gaining planning consent for the proposed scheme can take some months to conclude.

- Eleanor Deeley

It is key to get the club back into the Coventry area as soon as possible so the steps of planning process and stadium design have had to be run concurrently to streamline the process. The planning process is, however, more time-consuming than the initial design phase hence we have published our initial design images first to answer supporters’ requests for information on the project.

As soon as we are in a position to confirm the site of the new stadium we will do so without delay.

- Tim Fisher

If you cannot confirm the site, how can you produce a design image? Does location impact on design?

We developed master plans for the stadium and associated facilities on three separate sites with careful consideration given to pitch orientation, fan approach and stadium operations. These three key factors require a very similar approach on the two sites which are currently being bid on, so the proposed stadium design concept will be fundamentally the same for both sites. 

- Phil Osbourne

How long will the process to completion take?

The planning process will take 12-18 months assuming that the project is not called in by the Secretary of State.  The reason for it taking this amount of time is due to the level of detail which is required not only for the stadium itself but for the site as a whole.
The site is likely to be in excess of 50 acres and it is therefore highly likely that an environmental impact assessment will be required and it will be important to work in partnership with local authorities to demonstrate that there is no ecological damage but also to address the issues of highways. 
As you will appreciate this is a very substantial development which has very substantial benefits to local communities and these are to be assessed and tailored to ensure that the maximum community benefit is gained from the uses incorporated within the stadium and the surrounding land.

- Eleanor Deeley

When will you break ground?

This depends on the speed of the planning process which we are hoping that we can accelerate. The hugely positive economic impact that the stadium will bring through primary and secondary job and business creation coupled with the massive impact the community hub will bring to the local area may hopefully accelerate decision making. 

Once the planning process has been approved we can then look to break ground.

We would anticipate that provided the planning application is not called in by the Secretary of State, we could break ground almost immediately after a planning application has been approved  in the next 12-18 months.

- Eleanor Deeley

What will the capacity of the stadium be?

The design will be modular in the sense that the stadium capacity will grow as the club becomes more successful. Initially, we are proposing a capacity of 12-13,000. The next stage of the club’s development will see the capacity grow to 15-17,000. We believe that, ultimately, the stadium capacity will target some 21–23,000.

The first-draft stadium brief also includes ten 12-seat hospitality boxes, one 24-seat hospitality box, a 100-seat silver service restaurant and a 430-seat function room.

The images you have seen represent the vision of the stadium at its full capacity.

- Phil Osbourne

All of these features will be considered in discussion with the CCFC Stadium Forum to make sure the stadium offering fits the specific needs of supporters on a matchday and guests or visitors on non-matchdays.

- Tim Fisher

Is 23,000 ambitious enough for a club with Premier League aspirations?

Being realistic does not mean that we are not ambitious as a club. However, historical Coventry City match attendances cannot be ignored. With the exception of the first season at the Ricoh Arena, the trend of the club’s home attendances since the first days of the Premier League and the club’s period in the Championship sets a clear picture.

Based on that trend, we believe that a stadium capable of holding 23,000 seats is the right number based on the club’s attendance history right back to the days of when Highfield Road became a near 23,500-capacity all-seated stadium in 1994.

Obviously the capacity of the stadium is something that I’m sure will be discussed as part of the CCFC Stadium Forum consultations but it’s important we strike the balance of building a stadium on a scale big enough to satisfy the club’s fan base but not so big that it ignores the trend of past attendances.

We want this stadium to be tight, close knit and intimate for fans because it makes for a better match atmosphere.

- Tim Fisher

How much is this going to cost? Where is the money coming from?

The cost of the new stadium will be in excess of £20m. The actual time line of costs for the whole site simply depends on how we phase the stadium, academy and first team training facilities.

The financing will be a mix of equity and debt. As a ground share requirement for the Football League we have had to show how the new stadium might be financed and included the accompanying proof of funding. 

The community hub will attract grants from local and central government and will support the overall cost of the project. 

- Tim Fisher

What will transport links be like? How will we get there?

There will be a number of ways of getting to the stadium including bus and car.   We will be looking to provide for and integrate a full bus service that will be moulded to match day requirements. 

Developing the right transport strategy for the stadium to make it a sustainable facility that is open and accessible to all the community will be very much part of the planning process.

- Eleanor Deeley

What will the fans' involvement be in the process?

Sandra Garlick in her role as Chair of the CCFC Stadium Forum will liase with fans to gather their input to ensure that the club’s history and DNA run through the new stadium and we deliver the home the fans want. We are deeply aware that whilst we are building for the future it is important that we do not forget the club’s heritage and tradition.

I’m sure you will notice the design images show what looks like a complete stadium but this is just the basic shell. The task of the CCFC Stadium Forum is to canvass fans to help make the decisions on how both the inside and outside of the stadium will look and feel.

Do you want bars and family activity zones? What images should be depicted on the outside of the stadium? Do we have banners around the inside of the stadium bowl? There will be a whole host of elements that we want fans to address because we want to make sure the experience and atmosphere of the new stadium is the best it can be.

- Tim Fisher

How close will we be to the pitch?

We are looking to bring the fans as close to the pitch as possible, but also ensure a safe run off zone for the players. Following the recommended FA guidelines there will 5.5 metres between the touch lines and the stands on all sides of the ground. 

This could, however, be reduced to as little as 3.65 metres. We have been informed that fan consultation will form a significant part of the design process so it is open to change.

- Phil Osbourne

What will parking availability be like?

Parking allowances will be determined following consultation with the local authorities Planning and Highways departments, but we currently foresee a maximum capacity of 3,000 car parking spaces on the proposed sites. Appropriate numbers of coach parking will also be made available.

- Phil Osbourne

What will you use the space surrounding the stadium for?

The immediate surrounds of the stadium will be used for the Academy and the first team training facility.  Any additional land surrounding the stadium will be used for a mix of uses that will be complimentary to such a substantial sporting facility.  The exact nature of these is going to be determined by the planning process and by the final site which is selected.

- Eleanor Deeley

In terms of the available land not being immediately taken up by the stadium build, a proportion will be used to provide a first team training facility, Academy training facilities in line with Category 2 requirements and the ability to deliver all of our community sports activities.

The aim is to have the entire football model on one site. The pitches you see in the initial designs reflect first team training pitches as well as pitches for Academy and others for community usage.

- Steve Waggott

What other events will the stadium be capable of?

The stadium is first and foremost the club’s home. Matchday hospitality areas will also be used to deliver conference and entertainment events.

Importantly, beyond the club’s home we are also building a community integrated stadium such that facilities within the stadium and academy will be used to deliver health, disability, youth and social inclusion projects for the local community.

It is critical that community initiatives around health, advisory services and education are delivered through the stadium. The stadium will be inspirational. Steve Waggott wrote and delivered such a blue print in South London and Kent for Charlton Athletic. 

- Tim Fisher

Away from matchdays the vision is for the stadium to be a vibrant facility capable of delivering both commercial and community opportunities to drive both revenue and activities all year round.

- Steve Waggott

We can see other pitches and buildings in the design. What are they for?

The aim is to have the entire football model on one site. The pitches you see in the initial designs reflect first team training pitches as well as pitches for Academy and others for community usage.

Those pitches will be full size and floodlit along with an indoor facility to meet the requirements of Academy Category 2 and possible Category 1 in the future.

- Steve Waggott

What is the rationale behind this project?

It is vital that Coventry City Football Club maintains control over its own destiny and this project is the vision of how we can achieve that.

The new stadium will not only be a home for the football club that supporters can be proud of but also one that generates revenue, both matchday and non-matchday, 365 days a year.

It will provide the financial foundation with both matchday and non-matchday income from which we can re-invest into the football club and realise our ambition to thrive and be sustainable. 

This project puts the future of Coventry City Football Club into its own hands.

- Steve Waggott

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