A FORMAL planning application for a major redevelopment of Ayr United’s ground at Somerset Park is expected by the end of this month, club officials say.

A new stand on the north side of the ground is the centrepiece of the club’s masterplan for the redevelopment of the ageing stadium, unveiled by chairman David Smith at a ‘club vision night’ recently.

According to computer-generated images released by the club, the new stand will include purpose-built hospitality suites and a ‘business club’, while retaining part of the terracing on the north side of the ground – terracing which will be covered for the first time since the stadium in its current form opened in 1924.

The club says the new facility will – subject to planning permission being secured – enable it to “enhance the fan experience” and “refresh our hospitality offering”.

If South Ayrshire Council gives the club’s plans the green light, the plan is to rehouse the club’s operational base at the new facility, allowing the offices at its ‘hub’ to be used by the Ayr United Academy.

A spokesperson said: “With the help of local companies Denholm Youd and Clancy Consulting we are delighted with where we are with the design now and are looking to make a planning application by the end of this month.

“It’s a huge step forward for us and we, collectively, feel very excited about the next stage in our evolution.”

The plans for the new north stand was unveiled alongside a vision for the club to “entertain, engage and inspire the town of Ayr and its local community with a club that remains true to its history and traditions but that strives for progress and innovation”.

Unveiling the club’s vision document, managing director Graeme Mathie said: “This work has been ongoing for the last six months and is a culmination of a number of conversations with staff, supporters, players and the board.

“We really wanted to be able to state clearly what defines Ayr United – now and in the future. We want to be ambitious on and off the park and this vision document gives us something to aspire to and something to highlight what’s important to us as we go about our work every day.

“It is only the starting point, and there’s lots more involved in bringing it to life.

“We’ve begun a journey together that was captured by the #WeAreUnited and maintaining that unity is going to be vitally important as we move forward.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of Ayr United and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the football club.”