Hearts' £51m stadium goal hit by fresh planning delays

HEARTS are facing another delay to their plans for a £51 million redevelopment of Tynecastle Stadium.

It had been expected that a planning application for the ambitious revamp would be considered by the city council's planning committee this month.

But it has been revealed the Gorgie club have still to provide council officials with all the necessary information on a new 10,000-seat main stand and adjacent office/hotel complex.

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This means the application – which was submitted in January, a year later than originally expected – will not be heard until next year.

The projected construction start date of next summer is also likely to be delayed.

Council chiefs will land Hearts with a six-figure bill for the temporary relocation of Tynecastle Nursery if work on the new main stand has not "substantially commenced" by January 2010.

A spokesman for Hearts today said the club was relaxed about the latest delay and assured fans that progress was being made.

However, fans' groups said the latest move would not help confidence in the scheme.

Derek Watson, chairman of the Hearts Supporters' Trust, said: "I don't think this will come as any big surprise to fans given that there have already been delays.

"It is not going to affect the team on the pitch and that will be what most people see as the priority."

The plans for Tynecastle would see the capacity increased by 5000 as well as the addition of offices, flats and other facilities.

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The complex land deals needed would see Hearts buy the Tynecastle Nursery and adult learning centre for 1.8 million.

The current plan will see Tynecastle Nursery leave its current home behind the existing main stand next summer.

However, work on a permanent replacement in McLeod Street will not get under way until 2010 at the earliest, so the nursery will be in a temporary home in Wheatfield Street for at least two years.

The city council will absorb the cost of the relocation, but the bill will be sent to Hearts if the development drags on and the nursery has to stay any longer.

A council spokeswoman said: "Heart of Midlothian FC has been asked for information relating to design and other matters. Until this is received the application can not proceed. We expect a report to be presented to the planning committee early next year.

"Dialogue is continuing with Heart of Midlothian FC over the complex set of development proposals and final agreement is expected to coincide with the grant of planning consent."

A spokesman for Hearts said they were 100 per cent committed to the project and progress was being made behind the scenes.