Club honour commitment to improve facilities
ALBION will begin work next week to upgrade The Hawthorns’ facilities in line with the recommendations of the Accessibility Stadia Guide.
Work will start in the West Stand and Birmingham Road End’s West corner on Monday as the Club sets about extending wheelchair bays and accessibility features to further improve the match-day experience for disabled supporters.
The changes will mean that a number of season ticket holders in the West stand and Millennium corner will have to be re-located.
Starting today, and over the coming weeks, Albion will be contacting fans effected by the development work and offering a £50 discount on renewals for next season to compensate for the inconvenience.
Director of Operations Mark Miles says the Club is committed to do all it can to meet the Accessibility recommendations within agreed deadlines.
Miles said: “I am sure our supporters will back the Club’s desire to ensure that our Accessibility features are in line with all recommendations.
“We all love our stadium but it does present us with some challenges in meeting all of the recommendations of accessibility in the modern age. But we are determined to provide facilities that all supporters can use and enjoy, making reasonable adjustments where necessary.
“There will be some inconvenience for a comparatively small group of supporters. In the first instance, 10 fans will have to be relocated because of the work which will start on Monday.
“There will then be a second phase during the close season which will mean relocating a further 50 seat holders in the West and East Stands. We will be writing to them all to explain the position and there will be an offer of a £50 discount on their 2017/18 season-ticket renewals.
“But I hope everyone understands and supports the Club’s determination to meet the recommendations of the ASG.”
Albion have consulted with West Bromwich Albion Disabled Supporters Club throughout the process and their chairman, Kevin Candon, said: “We have worked closely with the club over a number of years on accessibility issues and even more so over the past few months, helping to develop their plans in line with the recommendations in the Accessible Stadia Guide.
“I and the rest of the committee look forward to seeing the forthcoming improvements and welcome the Club’s support for these changes.”
The changes being planned at The Hawthorns will see:
• Increase in wheelchair bays from 145 to 171 which is the number recommended for The Hawthorns
• Wheelchair provision included in the West Stand for the first time as well as additional bays in the away section
• Remodel of BRE accessible entrance
• Create concourse facilities and additional washroom facilities for BRE users. These facilities are also available for users of the West stand bays
• Create an accessible concourse in the Smethwick corner
• Additional washroom facilities, including a Changing Place toilet in the SW concourse
• Creation of an accessible toilet to the rear of “A” block. This can be used by any away supporters pre match and half time as well as home supporters who are catching coaches to travel away.
• Additional parking facilities for disabled ticket holders on Sandwell Academy car park
• Identification of amenity and easy access seats throughout the stadium
• General improvement of existing accessible facilities e.g. tactile paving, layout of accessible toilets etc
• New accessibility training packages for staff
Albion already provide radio commentary for the visually impaired, emailed programmes on request, guide dog facilities and large print menus on request at kiosks.
The works will result in a reduction of capacity throughout the stadium of circa 200 seats.