By March 2011, Plymouth Argyle was heavily in debt and its directors decided to put the club into administration. Once the bulk of the debt had been written off, a former banker, James Brent, bought the club and it came out of administration on 31st October 2011.
In 2013, one of James Brent’s companies, the Akkeron Group, submitted a planning application for a substantial expansion of the facilities at Home Park which included a mixed-use development comprising:
- a new south grandstand for the Football Club with hospitality and conferencing facilities, and players changing rooms.
- a 10-screen multiplex cinema with IMAX with seating for 1,815.
- a 120-bed hotel.
- retail and food outlets
- a dentistry/medical centre
- an ice rink
All the above would have been served by a new underground carpark beneath the proposed hotel.
The application was approved subject to conditions and, had it been built, it would not only have dominated local vistas but also have introduced a two-way road around the north and east sides of the stadium into the carpark. It would have generated a large amount of excavated material which was going to be deposited against the existing embankment on the west side of Zoo Field, thereby necessitating a major realignment of the path network and the loss of many trees.
Many more trees would also have been lost from the Outland Road carpark, without replacements, to make a right turning for east-bound vehicles.
More beneficially, the scheme would have levelled the Cottage Field football pitch and funded a strategic surface water strategy that would include new watercourses, lakes and ponds.
No work had started by the time planning permission expired in 2016 so the scheme joined others on the list of ‘what might have been’.