Newcastle to move ahead with St James’ Park expansion plans

Aerial view of St James' Park

Newcastle United are set to move ahead with plans to expand St James’ Park after completing a feasibility study into what can be done to modernise their historical home.

Although there is much still to be worked through and the blueprints for the expansion are not likely to be made public anytime soon, Telegraph Sport can reveal that the club wish to proceed with building on the current site in the city centre.

An extensive, six-month feasibility study has been carried out, with architects offering a range of options to dramatically increase the capacity to more than 60,000, as well as modernise facilities inside the stadium.

However, before the multi-million pound rebuild, which has been described as one of the most ambitious stadium rebuilds seen in this country, can begin, Newcastle need to discuss the length of the lease with Newcastle City Council.

The lease currently has 70 years to run, but before investing hundreds of millions of pounds in the project, the club understandably wants to extend it.

Those talks with the council will be delicate and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, who have a majority stake of 80 per cent in the club and will bankroll the project if it gets the green light, will want to ensure they have long term security on their investment.

A general view of the North and East Stands during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur at St. James Park on April 13, 2024
The Leazes End and Milburn Stand currently dwarf the East Stand and Gallowgate End at St James' Park - Getty Images/Stu Forster

There were two potential alternative sites under consideration. The first, on the banks of the River Tyne on the site of the Metro Radio Arena, has since been purchased for redevelopment as housing. The second idea was to completely rebuild St James’ Park on Leazes Park next to the existing stadium.

The idea now is to create a large, modern, multi-purpose venue that, as well as giving the football club one of the most spectacular and innovative stadiums in the country to play in, can also be used to host concerts and other sporting events.

Despite the completion of the feasibility study, building work is not expected to start before the end of the year and it is unclear when it will begin as the funding for the project still needs to be discussed with the relevant stakeholders.

Slim possibility move could be revived

There also remains a slim possibility that PIF could decide to move to a new site if they cannot reach an agreement on the leasehold. But the overwhelming preference is to remain at St James’ Park and the feasibility study has shown their ambitious plans can be fulfilled without relocating.

The rebuild is complicated by the fact Newcastle are one of the host cities when England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland stage the European Championship in 2028.

St James’ Park is also part of a city centre conservation area, with a park behind the Leazes End and Grade One listed buildings behind the East Stand.

A road and a metro station are also situated behind the Gallowgate End, although the land needed for the rebuild of that end of the stadium has already been purchased by the club.

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