Major plans revealed for Harrogate Town AFC's Wetherby Road stadium

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Ambitious plans to improve the facilities at Harrogate Town AFC's CNG Stadium have been hailed as 'absolutely key' to the club's future success.

In a recent newsletter to fans and neighbours of its Wetherby Road grounds, Harrogate Town announced plans to completely renovate the stadium.

Improvements include building a new two storey club house including changing rooms and corporate facilities; two new seated terraces in the area of the current 1919 bar and replacing the existing stand to the north east; an extension of 250 seats to the south stand (Wetherby Road terrace); a new ticket sales office; and a new floodlighting scheme to enable better control of lighting.

Managing Director of Harrogate Town AFC, Garry Plant, said the improvements were vital to enable the club top look after it's customers.

He said: "It's key it's absolutely key, it's the first thing you notice. When you go to the theatre and you sit down, you want it to be clean and comfortable, you don't expect to get wet because it's raining, you don't expect to get crushed against the person next to you because it's too small when it's busy.

"It's key in every club - look after your customers, that means more customers will come along, look at the CNG stadium today compared to what it was four years ago.

"We aspire to be a successful club and we aspire to play at a higher level so we have to get the infrastructure right now."

The newsletter, signed by club Chairman Irving Weaver, was circulated in the Harrogate Town AFC fan's Facebook page.

In his letter, Mr Weaver outlined that as part of the planning application for the comprehensive improvements to the stadium, planning permission would also be sought for the 3G pitch which was laid in the summer of last year.

He acknowledged that residents of St Nicholas Road, nearby to the grounds had raised concerns and accepted that planning permission should have been obtained.

The letter read: "We know that residents on St Nicholas Road have expressed concerns about the use of of the 3G pitch including overspill car parking, noise and floodlighting.

"We have engaged with the council since these concerns have been raised and acknowledge that planning permission should have been obtained for the 3G pitch.

"We aim to address and resolve these concerns in a reasonable and transparent manner."

But Mr Plant highlighted that the 3G pitch had allowed the club to develop massively, with the senior squad recently turning professional.

He said: "Where we are is that the pitch is there, it's absolutely transformed the club and we want to increase that investment.

"If you consider there was only one other all purpose all weather pitch before that people could use and that's at Rossett school which is fully booked up all the time.

"We were training in Doncaster, Wetherby Sheffield, wherever we could find a facility to use. It wasn't professional it was a lot of travelling for the first team.

"It really is enabling us to do much more than we were ever doing before."

Having come into his position with Harrogate Town AFC some five years ago now, Mr Plant said his ambitions have always been for the club to be the best neighbour and football club it can be.

He said: "From day one I came into position in 2013 and the first thing I ever did was knock on people's door and then called the first neighbourhood meeting that had ever happened at the club. I made it clear right from the outset we want to be the best neighbours that we can and we want this to be the best football club that has ever been in Harrogate."

Residents have been invited to view the proposals and give feedback on Monday, September 11, from 3.30-7.30pm at the club's 1919 bar.

Alternatively click here, to share your feedback with the club online. The deadline for submitting comments is September 24.