Penrith Stadium capacity could have been 28,000 – but only if southern hill was axed

Fans on the southern hill. Photo: NRL Photos.
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Penrith Stadium’s capacity could be increased to 28,000 if a grandstand was developed at the southern end of the ground, it has been revealed.

The stadium’s current capacity of 22,500 will be increased to 25,000 as part of a redevelopment that will begin later this year.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released as part of the redevelopment reveals a grandstand replacing the southern hill, adjacent to Howell Oval, is the only way that could be increased further.

“The site is constrained in being able to offer a significantly larger capacity,” the EIS states.

“A maximum capacity of up to 28,000 is considered the largest possible for this site and could only be achieved through development of another grandstand in place of the southern hill.

“The design has been developed to allow expansion through construction of a southern grandstand in the future should it be desired.”

An artist's impression of the new-look Penrith Stadium.
An artist’s impression of the new-look Penrith Stadium.

A plan by the previous Coalition Government would have seen a brand new stadium located on the grounds of Penrith Showground and Paceway with a capacity significantly higher than the current plan delivers.

However, Labor’s restriction on the funding it will provide to the project – $309 million – saw that plan dropped after Chris Minns became Premier.

The Penrith Panthers will move out of the current venue later this year to allow for the redevelopment, which will see new Eastern and Western grandstands built. The venue will re-open in 2026.

Both hills will be retained as part of the redevelopment, with only minor changes.

“Whilst they are proposed to be retained, improvements have been made to aid circulation,” the EIS states.

“The path of circulation for the southern stand has been moved to behind the amenities building ensuring better accessibility between the east and west stands.

“Further improvements have been made to the eastern and western edges of the north hill to aid accessibility.”

An artist’s impression of the new-look Penrith Stadium

The EIS also provides more detail on improved amenities, which are placed under extreme pressure on game days.

The new venue will increase female toilets by 42.5 per cent and male toilets by 50 per cent. There will also be significantly more accessible toilets.

The plan aims to ensure Penrith Stadium retains the character that it has developed through generations.

“Whilst the proposed refurbishment works will alter the scale and form of the eastern and western stands of the stadium, it will not detrimentally impact the overall shape and functionality of the stadium,” the EIS states.

“The new eastern and western stand have been designed to increase shade access to the seats, and improve all ability accessibility. The stands will be greater in height than the existing stands, which will significantly improve the sightlines available from all seats to the field of play, due to the increased steepness of the stands.”

The EIS is currently on public display. An information booth will also be in place at this Sunday’s clash between Penrith and Manly at Penrith Stadium.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender's Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia's leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.

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