AFC Bournemouth to build new stadium after being 'held to ransom' by owner of current home

English Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth is seeking a new home in a new location, its chief executive has announced.

Neill Blake said the club cannot realise its preferred option of buying back the Vitality Stadium, where it currently plays, from property company Structadene in order to redevelop the site.

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

Blake said the club has been left “with no option” but to find a new site and is working with the council to identify a suitable location.

“We have given great thought to meet not only the needs, but also the expectations, of supporters,” he said. “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.

“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.”

AFC Bournemouth won promotion to the Premier League for the 2015/16 season, but with a capacity of just 11,464, the Vitality Stadium is the smallest in the division. Earlier this year, the club submitted an application to redevelop the ground’s South Stand, which is due to go before planners later this month.

According to Blake, the new stadium will be built in time for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

AFC Bournemouth  Kings Park  Vitality Stadium  Bournemouth  architecture  design  Premier League 
English Premier League football club AFC Bournemouth is seeking a new home in a new location, its chief executive has announced. Neill Blake said the club cannot realise its preferred option of buying back the Vitality Stadium, where it currently plays, from property company Structadene in order to redevelop the site. “It has always been the board of directors’ preferred option to buy the stadium back and develop a Premier
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AFC Bournemouth won promotion to the Premier League for the 2015/16 season, but with a capacity of just 11,464 the Vitality Stadium is the smallest in the division / Adam Davy PA Wire/PA Images
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