Hereford United's chairman and director of football Graham Turner is expecting matters to move forward on the planned new Blackfriars Street stand early in the New Year.

“It has been a long-drawn out process but we now have an application in for a grant and have been assigned a programme manager,”

said the Bulls supremo.

“He will review the application over the next month and, I imagine, pay some site visits.

“We are tied in with the Richardsons for the £1m plus loan arranged by the previous board and that has not gone away. Obviously they want to make something out of it but we have reached an agreement of what we want for the football facilities.

“It looks likely that we will get a stand with at least 1,500 seats, new canteens, toilet blocks and disabled facilities. There will probably also be new facilities for visiting supporters in the far corner.

“We have to give one-hundredth of the seating capacity to disabled facilities.

One of the current stumbling blocks is that these are likely only to be elevated in a small way. In a stand of that size, anything else would be difficult to achieve without putting lifts in.

“We hope that will satisfy the authorities.”

Turner revealed that there is still work going on with the plans for the new construction.

“There is some tweaking of the plans which we hope will be done by January 7,” he said.

“We will then have a meeting with the Richardsons and Herefordshire Council on January 14 - because of the size of the grant we are seeking, it will have to go to the Football Ground Improvement Fund full board which will meet in March.

“It is estimated that from the time they get on site, it will be completed within six months.

“It will still be touch-and-go for the start of next season.

“We hope that, come early January, we will be applying for planning consent. It has been long-drawn out - I was very optimistic when I first thought it might have been done by the end of the season.”

While there is still work to be done before the new Blackfriars St stand, other parts of the ground, which had been causing concern, have now been given a clean bill of health.

“We were only given a licence for the ground until January, dependent upon works being carried out,” said Turner.

“We have had those works carried out and the full tests were done a fortnight ago for barriers and perimeter walls etc.

“I am pleased to say that everything is now in excess of the Green Guide, which is the safety of stadia guide.

“It will go again before the chairmen of the safety advisory group and there is the prospect of the capacity being increased by a small amount, maybe a couple of hundred.

“The capacity at the moment is 5,075 and the Football League were concerned that we were getting a little close to the minimum 5,000-mark.

“It has been a very expensive process, particularly with the fire safety precautions under the main Merton Stand. We have to put in all fire-resistant glass on the inside and new frames - that should be done over the next couple of weeks or so - a new fire-detection system.

“It has been a costly exercise but we have to comply with all the safety regulations and quite rightly so.

“We're quite pleased with the way things have gone and they way they are developing.”