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By ESPN Staff

Hearts submit £51m Tynecastle plans

Hearts are confident of being granted permission to redevelop Tynecastle after submitting a planning application for the stadium to Edinburgh City Council today.

The club's plans include a new 10,000-seat main stand, which will include a hotel and flats, and would increase stadium capacity to 23,000.

Officials hope the £51million project will begin this summer, ahead of a proposed finishing date towards the end of season 2009-10.

``It's a very, very important day for the club,' said Pedro Lopez, Hearts deputy chief executive.

``Finally, the application goes in and it's a fantastic milestone for us because there have been delays and people have been anxious about that.

``We will be working with the council to get permission as soon as possible and start work as soon as possible.

``Over the next few weeks we will be working closely with the council to see what further information will be required from us so that they can deal with the application quickly and smoothly.

``Given that we have been working with the council for so long and we have communicated with the neighbours, I think everyone wants this to happen and everyone wants this club to stay at Tynecastle.

``It would be very strange not to get the planning permission. You can never say for sure but I'll be very surprised if we have big problems with it.'

Lopez believes the project also confirms the long-term commitment to Hearts of majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

He added: ``There has been a lot of speculation about long-term commitment. This is a five-year project.

``It will take some time for us to get the planning permission, time to build the new stand and longer to see the improved situation because of the improved facilities for the club.

``So this is a long-term project and confirms the ambitions and vision for the club from Vladimir and everyone working here.'

Lopez also hopes the plans will eventually help eradicate Hearts' debt, which stands at around £28million, even though that figure could rise initially as a result.

But he insisted: ``You always need to look at the longer term. That's why we are doing this, because it's a long-term project.

``The project will enable the club to be self-sufficient in the future and naturally to reduce the debt to zero.'

Both Murrayfield and Easter Road have been touted as temporary homes for Hearts while work takes place at the Gorgie ground.

But, speaking on Hearts World, Lopez would only say: ``We are negotiating with parties at the moment and looking at the options.

``I wouldn't say that Murrayfield is the only option. We are looking for the best possibility for the club.'