Date: 6th February 2017 at 8:25am
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West Bromwich Albion confirmed over the weekend that plans were in place for changes at The Hawthorns to ensure the club complies with the Accessibility Stadia Guide.

Plans for improved disabled access have been a topic of conversation for a while and a Premier League agreement states these changes will be in force for the start of next season.

As a consequence of the work some season ticket holders in the West Stand and the Millennium corner will need to be relocated but fans effected will be contacted by the club in the coming weeks with further information and those fans effected will be given a £50 discount for next season’s renewals.

Work begins today (Monday) in the West Stand and Birmingham Road End’s West corner to extend wheelchair bays and accessibility issues.

Director of Operations Mark Miles told wba.co.uk of the plans.

‘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.’

As for disruptions for fans for the remainder of the season, plans have been drawn up to limit this to as few as possible.

‘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.’

West Bromwich Albion Disabled Supporters Club have been heavily involved in the plans so far, and chairman Kevin Candon added.

‘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 planned will include the following:

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

The work will see a capacity reduction of circa 200 seats.

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