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AFC Bournemouth launch hunt for new stadium site

AFC Bournemouth have launched a search for a site on which to build a new stadium, as they look to move away from their existing Vitality Stadium.

The English Premier League team had been hoping to redevelop the 11,464 capacity Vitality Stadium after winning promotion to the top tier in the summer of 2015.

But discussions with stadium owner Structadene and Bournemouth Borough Council’s planning department have stalled.

AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said in a statement:

Earlier this year, the club submitted an application to redevelop the South Stand, which is due to go before planners later this month for approval.

It has always been the board of directors’ preferred option to buy the stadium back from Structadene and develop a Premier League-standard stadium on the current site at Kings Park.

However, following discussions over a number of months with both Structadene and Bournemouth Borough Council’s planning department, it has become apparent that this will not be possible.

Firstly, we are not going to develop a stadium we do not own and will not be held to ransom over a price to purchase the existing site.

And secondly, the council’s planning department have made it clear that they would not welcome a significantly bigger stadium in Kings Park, meaning we are severely constricted in what we can achieve on this site with regards to size, capacity and facilities.

Therefore, we feel we have no other option but to find a new site and are working closely with Bournemouth Borough Council to identify a suitable location.

He said the board and shareholders have given great thought to meet not only the needs, but also the expectations, of supporters.

Blake added:

It is crucial that we have a capacity that meets the ever-growing demand for tickets, that we are able to provide access for disabled supporters that meets new government guidelines, that we can improve and increase our hospitality offering and that we have a stadium that is used throughout the year by the community, and not just on matchdays.

We are working tirelessly to identify a site and it is our ambition that a new stadium would be built in time for the start of the 2020/21 season.

The shareholders want to create a legacy of AFC Bournemouth becoming an established Premier League club in a stadium which is befitting of our status, and we believe that building a new stadium on a new site will allow us to deliver that.

Image courtesy of AFC Bournemouth