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Watford won't confirm if East Stand opening has been pushed back
The Hornets have refused to confirm whether the first part of the East Stand will no longer be opening in March but did state they “aim” to have a section in use this season.
The club had initially suggested the first part of the structure would be open early this year and then the whole stand in Spring.
In December, chief executive Scott Duxbury said the first part of the new stand wouldn’t be open until March, with the remaining section fully operational in June or July.
But with three weeks to go until the start of March, and the end of that month just over seven weeks away, work on the construction of the stand’s frame has yet to start, with the foundations expected to be completed next week.
Watford’s operations director Glyn Evans said: “Work on the phase one piling and pile caps has now been completed and the next stage is the delivery of the steel framework itself.
“Before this can happen work is taking place to strengthen the ground level and then the steel frame can start to be delivered.
“The recent wet weather has been particularly frustrating as it has worsened the ground conditions. Once they are deemed fit we can proceed with the next stage. It is still the aim to have the first phase open during the current season.”
The East Stand is expected to cost more than £3m and does have a semi-temporary design which will make it easier to extend if required.
The stand will initially house around 2,600, taking the total capacity to more than 20,000 if restricted view seats are included. The planning permission does include a provision to build a 5,000-seater development in the future.
Watford decided to prioritise building the East Stand over the South-West Corner development, and handing project management to Centreplate, who last year merged with the catering company used by the Hornets, The Lindley Group.
Jon Davies, commercial director at Centerplate UK, said: “Centreplate remain committed to the South West Corner project at Vicarage Road and we are working closely in partnership with the club to bring the space to life.
“However we have been delayed by the lack of infrastructure designed within the original structure built by previous owners. This has meant we have had to revisit plans for utilities, air extraction and power provision. We are hopeful that we will start work within the next couple of months.”
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