The Richmond AFL Tigers’ historic 1915 Jack Dyer Stand at Punt Road Oval will be demolished as part of a redevelopment of the Melbourne ground. The City of Melbourne approved the demolition of the stand which will be replaced with a $65m development after Richmond vowed to leave Punt Road if wasn’t able to start from scratch.
Laura Thomas, director at Urbis and town planner for the Richmond Football Club, told council’s Future Melbourne Committee Meeting that demolition was the only option and it would secure the club’s long-term future. She said a revamped Punt Road Oval would double the oval’s capacity from 4000 to 8000 spectators. A final decision on the plans now sits with Planning Minister Richard Wynne.
Richmond has pledges of $30 million from the state and federal governments for the redevelopment, which will include new facilities for women’s football, its Indigenous Transition School and its Indigenous learning centre, the Korin Gamadji Institute alongside the Bachar Houli Foundation. It would also include a four-level underground car park.
“This development really represents the future,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp told the meeting. Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said the community benefit of the new facilities outweighed the heritage cost of losing the historic “Captain Blood” stand.
“The old grandstand is no longer fit for purpose and a safety risk – it would require so much work to bring it up to standard that it would no longer resemble the stand people know,” he said. “The new Punt Road Oval will be one of the best grounds in the country for watching AFLW games.”
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said council unanimously backed the club’s proposal because it would enhance community use and the fan experience.
“Improving facilities is absolutely important and is really at the centre of so many of the compelling reasons for supporting this,” she said.
Richmond played its first game at Punt Road in 1885 and hosted its last VFL game in 1964. It relocated home games to the MCG the following year.