Hearts owner Ann Budge hoping to get green light for £12 million stadium redevelopment next month



Hearts owner Ann Budge is hoping to get the green light to start work on the club’s £12 stadium redevelopment next month, but admits they have slipped three weeks behind schedule.

The planning committee at the City of Edinburgh Council is set to convene in October and Hearts are keeping their fingers crossed that their proposals for a new state-of-the-art 7,000-capacity main stand will be rubber-stamped.

The Gorgie club are keen to begin the preparatory tasks as they work towards a schedule of the new enclosure being operational by next September.

tynecastleHearts will also make a request to the SPFL that they are handed away matches at the beginning of next season in a bid to keep disruption to games to a minimum.

Budge said: “I’m reasonably comfortable that, if we get the go-ahead in October, then we’re ready to go.

“We have had confirmation that the planning committee will definitely take place in October.

“I’m hoping we will get the green light and we’re ready to start after that.

“The first thing we’ll need to do is knock down all the (exterior) buildings. That should take about six weeks.

“If we get the go-ahead then the objective is that by Christmas, the site will be cleared and we’ll have relocated.

“Once we get the go-ahead we can commission some of the steel stuff. Clearing the site between now and Christmas is the main objective to get it ready for building on.

“We have slipped probably three weeks behind. The start of the season would be ambitious but we are working towards it being ready by the end of September (2017).

“I have spoken in principle to the SPFL about delaying our first home game but I can’t do anything officially. They come out every year and ask if anyone has scheduling requests so I can’t do anything until then.

“But when I mentioned it previously they said it has been done before so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be done.”

tynecastle-1Budge helped host preview evenings for the new Hearts museum this week and, as well as playing a hands-on role over the stadium redevelopment, the 68-year-old was also elected on to the SPFL board during the summer.

And IT guru insists she is having to manage her time effectively.

She added: “I go from one meeting to another just now. I need to stand back and think about a few things.

“We’ve got a strong team and I don’t feel I need to be so hands on with the day to day running of the football club.

“Someone said to me the other day that I’ll never retire but, if when I hand over to the fans that we’ve achieved everything we set out to achieve, then I’ll be pleased.

“We’re still working hard with the Foundation of Hearts to make sure the governance is thought through and as long as that’s all in place then we’ll be fine.”

“When I first got involved with the club I didn’t realise at all what I was getting into.”