Work to start on new stand

Progress on building stadium

WORK will begin on a new north stand at Westfield in the next few weeks.

The new 2200-seater facility will boost capacity at the community stadium to around 6400 and should be complete by December.

It will be the same height as the West Stand but will stand alone, with the possibility of office accommodation being added on at the rear at a later date.

The good news is contained in a progress report, charting several major new developments at Westfield, which will be presented to councillors on May 5. The report is expected to get the required backing and The Falkirk Herald understands that stadium outfit Mowlem will thenbe asked to deliver the 1.58 million facility.

The document also outlines how cash can be freed up cash for a hospitality and conference suite at the west stand. and make money available to fit out an office – allowing Falkirk Council's community services department to make Westfield its new base.

Money is also secured for six five-a-side all weather pitches, instead of the originally planned 11. However, if the bid for a SportScotland footballing centre of excellence is knocked back, the extra five pitches WILL be built by FCSL.

Council leader David Alexander said: ''The sceptics said that this stadium would never happen and, even if it did, there would be nothing in it for other sections of the community. The report to be considered by council on Wednesday disproves this in the best way possible, by deeds rather than words.''

The money for the project is created by converting an existing unused 2 million Clydesdale Bank loan into a 2.8 million council loan – to be repaid over a longer term at lower interest.

Falkirk FC as sole occupiers of the north stand will make all loan repayments.

Councillor Alexander said: ''It's an opportunity to move the development ahead at pace. Falkirk FC have also seen the commercial potential here and their decision to undertake the servicing of the loan to build the north stand is welcome and a good indication of partnership working.

Meanwhile, the report confirms that the first phase of The Falkirk Stadium was completed 900,000 over its original 7.268 million budget. The overspend is blamed on delays in laying the pitch because of the 'grass versus plastic' debate and the decision to install state-of-the-art undersoil heating.

MrAlexander said a four per cent overspend was ''extremely good going'' for a project of Westfield's scale, adding the industry norm would be ''around 10 per cent''.