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Winchester City FC are celebrating after their plans to redevelop the Charters Community Stadium have been unanimously approved by the local council.
The Southern League Division One side announced the news triumphantly on X in November 2023.
Winchester City FC stadium redevelopment plans
So, what do the stadium redevelopment plans included? Well, the headlines are an artificial pitch, floodlighting and relocated stands.
An all-weather artificial pitch will reduce fixture cancellations and thus fixture congestion and allow other events and matches to be held at the Charters Community Stadium.
New floodlighting comes with obvious benefits, while increased space for spectators – the stadium currently has only a 180-seater stand – is crucial.
Also being introduced are team shelters, improved access for cars and other vehicles, toilet units, fencing and improvements to the area's biodiversity. Assessing biodiversity is often a key hurdle for non-league clubs to surmount, with community residents keen to emphasise its importance. It's a testament to Winchester's planning that they've managed to achieve this, then.
What's the Winchester stadium like now?
The Charters Community Stadium currently has a 180-seater stand and a fantastic, typical non-league small sheltered area called the ‘Bus Shelter'. That's behind one of the goals, and the ‘Bus Shelter Band' has played in there in the past.
For context, the Winchester stadium is about 12 miles from Southampton FC's St. Mary's Stadium.
Who will play at the redeveloped Winchester City stadium?
Winchester City FC, for starters, but also the Winchester City Flyers, a women's and girl's club.
How is the Winchester City FC stadium redevelopment being funded?
Funding is expected to come from a variety of sources, including the Winchester City Council and the Football Foundation. The total cost could be as much as £1m.
Why have you heard of Winchester City before?
Well, you might have actually heard of ‘Winchester FC', a name that went viral after French footballing star Ousmane Dembele announced his intention to take ‘Winchester FC' to the Premier League on Football Manager.
Winchester City appreciated the new global fame and sent a replica shirt across the English Channel. Their Wikipedia page after the incident even listed Ousmane Dembele as a founder of the club!
— Equipe de France ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) July 8, 2018
Anyway, Dembele is not in fact a founder of Winchester City FC. The club instead has a team of incredibly hard working members of staff who have done a fantastic job in creating the plans for a stadium redevelopment, and they should be applauded for their determination.
Fan reaction to Winchester City FC stadium redevelopment
Having followed @wincityfc for a very long time today’s decision tops everything. For years the club has battled the council to upgrade the facilities but time & again it fell on deaf ears. Can’t believe it’s finally going to happen, a big thank you to those who made it happen.
— Kevin Watkins (@Kev73Watkins) November 15, 2023
Planning permission granted 😎 A big thank you to @kennethraisbeck and all those who made it happen, a massive result for @wincityfc on and off the pitch and for the people of Winchester for a much needed upgrade of our facilities. A bright future ahead for our magnificent club
— WinchFans (@WinchFans) November 15, 2023
Fantastic news for the club and the city. Well done to all of those people who have pushed for this day (past and present). There will now be a facility that replicates the quality of the club and it’s ethos. Well done.
— Stu (@stewpeacock) November 15, 2023