Express & Star

Wolves receiving backing for permanent match day fan zone with food, drink and play area

Wolves football club is to open a permanent match day ‘fan zone’ outside Molineux, which will include stalls selling official merchandise, food and drink including alcohol, a children’s play area and live entertainment.

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An aerial view showing the scale of the proposed new fan zone. Image: AFL Architects.

The club was given the go-ahead for the permanent fixture by council bosses this week after previously running match day fan zones under temporary licences.

It will be constructed on the site of the car park which replaced the now-demolished former Fox/Wanderer pub.

The 1,390 square metre site, which is accessed via the subway under the Ring Road from the University Quarter, is a popular arrival point at Molineux. The existing zone has three permanent shipping container-type structures and a combination of low-level palisade fencing, railings and bollards.

Other features of the enclosed fan zone will include a new toilet block, video screen, stage and a stall for the Wolves Foundation’s ‘Feed Our Pack’ programme – a charity initiative set up to support local foodbanks.

A statement from AFL Architects, submitted alongside the plans, said: “Use of the site will be a match day fan zone with other additional use for events on non-match days. It will be open from three hours before a match until 15 minutes after kick-off.

An artist's impression of how the new fan zone will look. Image: AFL Architects

“The club’s plan is to use the site for other commercial non-match day events through the year, such as supporter events, craft fairs, student events, festive markets and food and drink events.

“It will be built to accommodate a capacity of around 1,300 people. The use will be occasional and not a continuous seven-day operation. Lighting where none currently exists and secure perimeter fencing with entrance/exit gates will also be installed.”

In a statement granting approval, planning officer Stephen Alexander said: “This is a welcome proposal that will benefit the vitality and viability of this part of the city centre. The proposal will appear subservient to the adjacent listed Molineux Hotel and will not detract from its setting. There will not be an impact on the street scene, amenities or highway safety.”

An artist's impression of how the new fan zone will look. Image: AFL Architects

Wolves have played continuously at Molineux since 1889. The stadium site has been developed and and upgraded at various times during its history. The published capacity for Molineux in the 2022-23 Premier League Handbook is 32,050.

The Steve Bull (east) Stand was opened in 1979, replacing the Molineux Street Stand which had then been assessed as not complying with the then new Safety at Football Grounds First Edition.

Molineux was one of the first stadia to be comprehensively redeveloped following the post-Hillsborough Taylor Report, published in 1990.

The north (Stan Cullis Stand), west (Billy Wright Stand) and south (Sir Jack Hayward Stand) were completed over the period 1991-93.