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Emerging Manchester practice reveals football stadium plans

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Fledgling Manchester practice Define Architects has unveiled plans for a major overhaul of an ambitious local non-league football club’s stadium

The studio, launched by Gavin Watts in 2018, revealed proposals for the redevelopment and expansion of Altrincham FC’s Moss Lane ground over the next decade.

Undeterred by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the club – currently playing in the suspended sixth tier of English football – aims to start phase one of the stadium construction programme this summer.

This will see refurbishment of a Sponsors Lounge and creation of Supporter Fan Zones to boost community atmosphere around the stadium.

Longer-term projects include new perimeter walls; replacing terraces with stands; and improved corporate facilities. Although no formal limit has been put on the capacity of the reworked ground, it is understood it could hold around 10,000 people.

Define said its designs aimed to put a contemporary twist on the architectural vernacular in the location, where the majority of buildings consist of two storeys and a pitched roof.

Watts said: ‘The way we watch the sport and the financial and economic pressures football clubs face are constantly evolving. Our intention is to transform the stadium into a 365-day destination by ensuring the architectural design compliments the implementation of new business opportunities for the football club.

‘Building upon the existing heritage and community ties the club has strived to develop over recent years, it is our aim to enhance the supporter experience, attract new demographics and provide additional amenities to the local community.’

Altrincham FC last season wore a rainbow-coloured kit in a competitive fixture in support of football’s fight against homophobia.

‘It is based on these forward-thinking initiatives that we were drawn towards the progressive nature of the club, and how it was looking to set a new precedent in the ethical and moral values in football,’ said Watts. ‘We hope the architecture can contribute towards this and continue to help the club lead by example.’

Altrincham FC director Bill Waterson insisted the club, which has always existed in the shadow of Manchester giants United and City, was ‘on the way up’.

‘We pride ourselves on being at the heart of the community, and we want our ground to represent the best of the town of Altrincham,’ he said.

‘Define Architects took our brief and have come back with a design that takes our vision to new heights, and perfectly reflects the spirit and energy in the town. Delivering on this vision will give us a ground that will be embedded in the heart of this vibrant community for many years to come.’

Altrincham FC existing Moss Lane ground

Altrincham FC existing Moss Lane ground

Altrincham FC existing Moss Lane ground

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