Plans to develop Lesser Hampden could see historic landmark demolished

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A building which has been called one of the oldest in world football could be knocked down, after Queen’s Park changed its plans to develop Lesser Hampden following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The club has said the new plans will deliver a “bigger and better” stadium, and a bid to build a directors stand for match-day hospitality is now being considered by the council.

It would include the demolition of ‘the farmhouse’ — a former changing pavilion which has been labelled the oldest footballing building in the world.

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“To accommodate these plans, the difficult decision has been made to demolish the farmhouse building, as its condition has deteriorated significantly over time,” the club announced on its website.

“It would also limit the club’s ability to expand improved facilities towards the Somerville Drive side of the ground.”

Under the new plans, the club said there would be a 1000 capacity East Stand, new dressing rooms on the pitch side and a new area for directors and sponsors.

They also said, under a second phase, the pitch will be moved and resurfaced to make room for a South Stand for 500 visiting supporters and the JB McAlpine Pavilion will be refitted to provide extra space for social facilities.

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Initial plans were approved in December 2019 and included a new East Stand, with a capacity of 812, and extending the West Stand to accommodate 914 people. They also involved new home and away changing rooms, facilities for match officials and an extended clubhouse terrace for 48 people.

Queen’s Park reviewed the plans as a result of the pandemic and still plans to deliver the East Stand, but it has also submitted two new applications.

The first one for temporary permission for home and away changing facilities has been granted and will last for five years. The second application is now under consideration by the council and includes the new directors stand.

It would have a hospitality suite, including a dining area for 40 people, and is seen as “complementary to the ongoing major financial investment and physical redevelopment of Lesser Hampden”.

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In the 1920s, Queen’s Park bought a farm near Hampden and converted the farmhouse building into a pavilion and dressing room. However, the farmhouse, which has been empty for a number of years, is now set to be demolished.

The byre, which was previously a holding shed for maintenance machinery, would also be demolished.

“Both properties are unlisted and have not been identified as having any special significance in either historic nor architectural terms,” the application states.

Under the 2019 application, the plan had been to refurbish both buildings but no “long-term viable use has been identified” and “at present they serve no function to the operation of the stadium”.

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“Both properties are now in a serious state of dilapidation and the case for refurbishment has now gone beyond economic viability.”

Last year, Hampden Park was sold to the Scottish Football Association, with Queens Park retaining control of Lesser Hampden. The club also became a professional side for the first time in its history.

A statement submitted with the latest application adds: “Lessons from the pandemic experience of managing through extreme uncertainty had to be taken on-board and greater consideration given to the short-term requirements of the football club.

“Queens Park FC have now taken this period to be proactive and have subsequently reviewed their current strategic plan but also thinking towards protecting the long-term viability of the football club together with their short-term operational requirements.”

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Due to ongoing building works, Queen’s Park are using Firhill Stadium for home matches after entering a season-long agreement with Partick Thistle. The club has said plans remain on track to open the 2022/23 season at Lesser Hampden.

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