City Ground, Nottingham Forest
Credit: Thomas McAtee / Shutterstock

Nottingham Forest’s plans for redevelopment of its City Ground stadium remain a possibility apparent terms have been reached with Nottingham City Council this week.

According to the BBC and its Local Democracy Reporting Service, terms have been reached between the two parties regarding Forest’s lease on the City Ground freehold. The Council has apparently agreed to sell the land to the club outright.

Once in full possession of the land Forest will be free from any obligations to pay rent to the City Council, and perhaps most significantly it will not be forced to abandon its long-held redevelopment plans.

Nottingham Labour, the majority party on the City Council, revealed the terms of the agreement in a post on X (formerly Twitter) featuring a statement from Neghat Khan, Nottingham City Council leader.

Khan was quoted by the BBC as saying: “I’m pleased to announce we have agreed in principle the sale of the City Ground to Nottingham Forest, all subject to the exec board approval next Tuesday.

“It’s a great deal for Forest supporters, for the club and also Nottingham taxpayers. It now means we can focus our resources on tackling other issues we have. But this is a great news story.”

Nottingham Forest and Nottingham City Council had been at an impasse regarding the lease to the City Ground land for some time. Upon the club’s return to the Premier League in season 2022/23 the Council raised the rent from £250,000 to £1m per annum.

Given recent hits to the club’s financial position, this was not an ideal situation. Forest was one of two teams last year to face points deductions for breaching the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability (PSR) rules, which have made controlling revenue and costs even more important for top-flight sides.

The increase in rent led to Forest reconsidering its options. This included a potential move away from the City to the village of Toton, close to the border with Derbyshire, which would have spelled an end to the club’s tenure at the ground it has called home since 1898.

Such a move would be significant not just for symbolic reasons. Under owner Evangleos Marinakiis, Forest has had redevelopment plans for the City Ground on its agenda since before its 2022 promotion.

The central piece of the plans are the demolition and reconstruction of the Peter Taylor Stand to increase its capacity from 5,000 to 10,000 seats, as well as an extension of the Bridgford Stand. This would increase the City Ground’s overall capacity from 30,000 to 38,000.

However, amid all the talk – and a very positive reception from fans on social media – Nottingham Forest has reminded its supporters that a full agreement has not yet been signed with the Council.

A club statement read: “After today’s comments from the leader of the City Council, the Club wishes to clarify the situation for supporters and stakeholders regarding the freehold for The City Ground.  

“For absolute clarity, we continue to work on the terms for a conditional deal for the purchase of the freehold. Any decision to purchase the freehold will be entirely conditional on Nottingham Forest first being granted the relevant permissions that will allow us to realise our hugely ambitious plans for a significantly larger stadium capacity, world-class hospitality spaces and associated substantial real estate development in the vicinity of the ground.

“Our discussions remain confidential and the club will update fans when meaningful progress has been achieved.”

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