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Thumbs up for United's £1million-plus grandstand plans

By This is Devon  |  Posted: August 12, 2010

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TORQUAY United's plans for a £1million-plus grandstand have brought an end to a decade of rumours about the club looking for a new home.

On Tuesday the Herald Express revealed the Gulls' proposals for a 1,750 all-seater stand with dressing rooms and disabled facilities.

In recent years there have been speculation that the Gulls were looking to move from Plainmoor with the Torquay seafront and ring road among some of the locations mooted and even combining a multimillion-pound stadium with a hotel complex.

But the club's current directors said that there was never an intention to move.

Mark Boyce, son of former and late chairman Tony, said: "It's a subject we realised had to be addressed. A new stand is more realistic than a new stadium.

"We've always been open to ideas, but the intention of the directors was always to stay at Plainmoor."

The proposals will go to Torbay Council for planning approval in October or November, and then a grant application will be sent to the Football Association.

If the plans are given the go-ahead, work could begin as early as April, with the stand being in place for next season.

Although exact costs have not been released, Gulls director James O'Dwyer said the bill will be 'far more than £1million'.

The project is a joint proposal with Westlands School, tying in with a new information technology unit for pupils.

Mr O'Dwyer added: "We've been working on this for about 12 months. It's a great plan, and it's essential to involve the school.

"If work isn't done soon, there will be issues with the stand. It's old and not up to scratch, and a modern stand is what people expect nowadays.

"The plans as they are are pretty impressive, but they will change. That's the nature of projects like this. However, there will only be minor changes."

Proposals have been drawn up by architects at Exeter-based Kensington Taylor, which is also working with Exeter City Football Club on a new stadium, and has designed stands at Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club.

Kensington Taylor has also worked on Paignton Library, Westlands School and Torquay Community College, and incubation units at Lymington Road in Torquay, as well as designing plans for the My Place youth facilities at Paignton's Parkfield site.

John Lees, a director at Kensington Taylor, said: "What's being planned for Torquay will be a fantastic community facility.

"It's ticking all the boxes and it'll do so much to lift the club's image. We love doing work in Torbay."

The plans were unveiled to councillors and Westlands School staff at a private viewing on Tuesday.

Cllr Julien Parrott, an avid Gulls fan, said: "I can't see a downside. Working with the school and the community is superb. It shows real serious intent by the club to move forward."

Peter Addis, ward councillor, added: "This has my whole-hearted support. It's great that they're involved with the community. Everyone will benefit."

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  • Profile image for This is Devon
    Harry Hawk, Torquay  |  August 12 2010, 7:49PM

    A new Grandstand at the home of Torquay United FC Plainmoor makes sense.I hope it all "comes off".It's what is required for the club to move forward and will finish the redevolpment of the ground started in 1991-1994 and then stalled until it seem now.Looking forward to sitting in the new stand.