Newcastle United averaged almost fifty thousand in their home attendances at St James Park despite being relegated last season.

This suggesting that crowds way in excess of the current fifty two thousand could be attracted if there was ever real success on the pitch in future.

The only room for realistic expansion of St James Park is at the Gallowgate End, with plans drawn up when John Hall and Freddy Shepherd were in charge, showing the stadium could be expanded to around sixty thousand.

However, owner Mike Ashley is planning on property development opposite the Gallowgate End and this has led to ongoing fears that this would remove any hope of expansion of the football stadium being possible in the future.

Nexus own the land but Mike Ashley controls the lease on it, previously owned by the club, and plans to build student flats, offices and apartments on the land, which is currently used as a car park.

Earlier today, Newcastle council’s planning committee approved development plans put forward on behalf of Mike Ashley by Marrico Asset Management.

There will be a nine and an 11 storey block of student flats built on Strawberry place, with then a later construction of a 17 storey apartment building and 10 floors of office space.

The Newcastle Council committee approved the student flats’design but planning permission was only granted in principal for the apartment block and offices, with councillors wanting to see how they will look before giving their final consent.

The plans had been objected to by NUST (Newcastle United Supporters Trust) and individual fans, worried about the impact on any future development of St James Park.

However, Julie Seaton, a Newcastle City Council planning officer, told today’s committee meeting that the plans put forward today would not prevent any ‘feasible’ future development of St James Park.

Julie Seaton:

“The proposed development would not limit any expansion plan that could feasibly be developed while accommodating existing constraints of the site.”