Shrewsbury’s “The Meadow”
October 16, 2017
The New Meadow, also known as Montgomery Waters Meadow for sponsorship purposes, is the home ground of tomorrow’s opponents Shrewsbury Town.
It was completed in the summer of 2007, in time for the start of the 2007-08 season and was built to replace their former Gay Meadow home where they had played since 1910. The stadium had no official name during the club’s first season at their new home, before being christened the “Prostar Stadium” in a four-year deal with the sports kit manufacturer of the same name in July 2008. The club had initially distanced themselves from the unofficial name of “New Meadow”, preferring to sever links with the old Gay Meadow ground, but when the naming deal with Prostar ended two years earlier than scheduled new sponsors Greenhous gave supporters the opportunity to vote for a new stadium name, with “Meadow” added to the shortlist after feedback from fans.From May 2010, the stadium was officially known as “Greenhous Meadow”, until Greenhous announced they would be ending their sponsorship of the club and stadium in November 2016,with local firm Montgomery Waters taking on the naming rights from July 2017.
Proposals to move to a new stadium were first drawn up in the late 1990s with planning permission being granted in September 2003. A covenant protecting the Gay Meadow site for sports use was transferred to Oteley Road in 2004, clearing the way for the sale of the old ground to property developers to finance the building of New Meadow.
The stadium was designed by WDW Partnership architects, with the project awarded to Hall Construction at a cost of £11.2 million, with a brief to build a 10,000 capacity all-seater stadium, with banqueting facilities for up to 300 people. The project consisted of erecting four stands, including hospitality boxes, function rooms, kitchen, bars, offices and a club shop as well as adjoining community and training pitches, a 670 space car park and access roads.
The East and West stands run the length of the pitch; the South and North stands face onto the ends of the pitch. All stands are fully seated and covered; each stand also has its own catering (licensed) and toilets. At present the stands are detached from one another.
- “Roland Wycherley Stand” – East stand, named after the present chairman; includes the club’s hospitality facilities, the changing rooms, club offices and club shop. Blocks 1−7. Capacity 2,741.
- “Salop Leisure Stand” – South stand, named after a local business sponsor. Blocks 8−12. Capacity 1,955.
- “Pro-Vision CCTV Stand” – North stand – the away supporters’ stand; also has stadium control rool and scoreboard, resulting in fewer seats than the South stand. Blocks 20−24. Capacity 1,796.
- “Bandera Stand” – West stand, named after a local company. Blocks 13−19. Capacity 3,317.
Subsequent developments on the stadium site include 5G 5-a-side and 7-a-side pitches and a community centre run by “Shrewsbury Town in the Community” which opened on land behind the South stand in 2016. A memorial garden area to remember fans, staff and players who have died was also relocated near the entrance to the stadium in the same year. Shropshire Football Association are also based at New Meadow, with their county office located in a building at the rear of the South stand.
The food retailer Lidl submitted plans to build a supermarket at the stadium site in May 2016, however this was partly reliant on the local council agreeing to move land earmarked for community use at the North end of the ground to another part of the site. Planning permission for the Lidl development and a new community pitch was approved in April 2017, with building work due to begin the following month.
In June 2017, Shrewsbury Town applied to the Sports Ground Safety Authority to convert an existing section of the all-seater New Meadow stadium to a Safe Standing area, making them the first club in the Football League to do so. Permission was granted the following month, with £75,000 to be raised via a crowdfunding initiative to install rail seating to the back of the South Stand, with a planned capacity of 550.