The Belgian club was hoping to receive exemption from the Environmental Impact Assessment. Now that the exemption hasn’t been granted, groundbreaking is sure to be delayed significantly.
The construction of two new stands at Argos Stadion was expected to begin shortly after end of league season in May 2014. For this scenario to happen, KV Mechelen needed to be granted exemption from the Environmental Impact Assessment act.
Unfortunately for the club, authorities found insufficient arguments in favour of the waiver and the club needs to have the EIA prepared. Marc Faes, stadium director, is very disappointed. “The rules will cost us more time. We continue forward, but we need to respect them”, said Faes for Voetbalkrant.be.
At this point no-one at the club is willing to give a new groundbreaking date, but it’s certain to move at least a few months further.
“We will persevere until the new stadium is ready. It was the same with acquisition of the stadium. We weren’t given any chance, but did it anyway”, Faes declared. He also continued to indicate that problems with building or expanding stadiums is nationwide. “If you look at Ghent, it took them twelve years to finish the stadium. Anderlecht and Club Brugge have been applying for years…”, he said.
The Mechelen plan foresees two new stands being built in the north (first phase) and south (second), together forming an L-shape with filled corners.
Both the new stands will be double-tiered with entire lower tier dedicated for safe standing and upper decks all-seated. The west end will also see skyboxes built between the two levels, no less than 11. Additionally a new disabled spectators section will be built behind the eastern goal as an independent structure.
Altogether the stands will bring a capacity increase of 5,000, bringing it to 18,000. To save the neighbouring houses from excessive traffic with limited parking the club suggested to provide a shuttle service for fans from more distant parking sites.