Southend United bosses have announced today that construction of the new stadium for The Shrimpers at Fossett’s Farm will begin immediately – however the original plans have had to be scaled back once again for financial reasons. When the plans were first approved for the new ground a number of years ago, the proposed stadium had seating to be built around the entire pitch, and a few years later this was reduced to a three-sided design with an option to build the final side of the ground when the financial climate was more suitable. Under the latest proposals, the club could be playing at their new home at the start of the 2016/2017 season.
A source within the club spoke to Southend News Network earlier today. He said: ‘Instead of a three-sided or four-sided stadium, we have decided to start off with a more intimate design. With the economy in its current state, we feel that just starting with a field of play is the right thing to do, and then we can begin construction of the first stand once Roots Hall has been completely sold off. It will be a unique experience for both Southend United fans and travelling supporters to stand in one long line around the pitch, and it will help to promote the grassroots image that the FA are keen to thrust into the limelight. Some of the most memorable moments of my youth involved standing around a Sunday League pitch and sensing the raw sporting emotion all around me, and this is something that we are incredibly excited about giving supporters in League 1.’
He added: ‘The best thing about our chosen pitch-only design is that parking will never be an issue as there will now be room for a huge number of parking spaces. In addition to this, we are also going to be able to accommodate a greater number of retail outlets on the site as not having traditional grandstands will free up a valuable amount of space. We will still be able to generate a better atmosphere than the Community Stadium as our Essex rivals Colchester start the new season in the Conference.’