Wrexham wins fight for extra seats for fans after 'pollution fear' initially halted new stand plans

The Racecourse Ground Credit: PA

Hollywood A-lister Ryan Reynolds has won a battle with planners to open a new stand for 5,500 extra fans to his Wrexham football team.

Planning chiefs took on the Deadpool star and comedy pal Rob McElhenny by blocking them from opening all the seats in their new £20m stand being built.

It cut the capacity by more than 600 in a pollution fear - but Reynolds has won the day.

The planners originally kicked the hopes into touch over concerns about pollution from phosphate concentrations flowing in local rivers from building work.

Environmental officials from Natural Resources Wales ordered phosphate levels in many parts of Wales to be reduced - including the area surrounding Wrexham.

A new letter sent on behalf of the club has now resubmitted their original plans along with the proposal to remove the restriction on the capacity of the Kop.

The club argue that the additional capacity is for 'home supporters' so the environmental impact of them attending matches is limited.

The club has put a temporary 2,000-seat stand at the Kop end but are hoping to get the full stand ready next season. The club is third in League Two after winning promotion last season - and winning support from around the world due to the "Welcome to Wrexham" TV series.

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The ground is the oldest international football venue in the world, having hosted Wales versus Scotland in 1877. With a fully functioning Kop, it will meet UEFA standards to host regular international games.

Reynolds, 46, has owned the Football League club since 2021 with fellow Hollywood actor Rob McElhenney, 46, and have overseen the club reach international stardom through their Disney docuseries, Welcome to Wrexham.

The stand is due to be ready for the 2024-25 season. Wrexham council say it has consulted with Welsh Water and Natural Resources Wales to approve the 5,500 seats for fans.

Councillor Mark Pritchard, Leader of the Council said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved. We all know that football is a huge part of our identity in Wrexham, and the success of the club is benefitting the city in all kinds of ways – catapulting us onto the world stage.“It’s important the correct planning procedures have been followed, and I’m delighted that the Kop will now be able to be used to its full capacity when it’s built.”Councillor Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Planning, said: “I am pleased that with the support and advice of our officers, a correct planning application has now been received.“After consultation with the appropriate agencies, we’ve been able to approve the application, which is fantastic news for both the club and football fans.”

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