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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
Wrexham FC revamp plan revealed
The Kop stand - far end in this photograph - at the Racecourse
The plans include a replacement stand, retail and flats
The businessman leading a bid to buy Wrexham FC has applied for planning permission to develop part of the Racecourse ground.

Car dealer Neville Dickens has lodged a formal application for outline planning permission with Wrexham council.

He and the consortium hoping to buy the club - which is in administration - want a new stand, along with private apartments and student accommodation.

The council said a decision would be taken at the "earliest opportunity".

The League Two club went into administration in 2004 with debts of more than 4m.

It must be sold by 3 June, when it will have been in administration for the maximum 18 months - or it could be expelled from the Football League.

Mr Dickens and his business partner Geoff Moss signed a month-long "exclusivity deal" with the administrators which expires on 30 April, and have until then to secure purchase of the Racecourse ground.

New flats

It is thought they want to develop and get the club back into profit before selling it on.

As part of the proposed development, Mr Dickens would demolish his own car showroom, which currently stands next to a corner of the ground.

He has already pledged to plough any profits back into the club.

The proposals, which were submitted to the council on Monday, include an outline application to demolish the east stand - Kop terrace behind the goal - and car showroom "to facilitate a mixed use development"

This will be private residential apartments, student accommodation, retail and site for a new stand.

Wrexham fans at the ground
Fans are waiting to see if the consortium's bid is accepted

Mr Dickens is said to have the backing of Wrexham fans - who have regularly campaigned to safeguard the club's future.

Obtaining outline planning permission could be key to his hopes of buying the ailing club.

He did not wish to discuss the planning application, but is said to be "confident".

The idea of developing luxury flats and a replacement stand in place of the Kop was put forward as a rescue plan by Wrexham Supporters' Trust in July 2004.

After going into administration, the club received a 10-point penalty in May 2005, relegating The Dragons to League Two.

Following a lengthy legal battle, London's appeal court ruled last month that the administrators, not former chairman Alex Hamilton, should retain ownership of the ground.




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