Chelsea FC has been granted planning permission from Hammersmith and Fulham Council for the redevelopment of their Stamford Bridge stadium.
The council’s planning committee voted unanimously to approve the proposal for a glitzy new 60,000-seat stadium at a meeting earlier this week.
The most prominent new feature will be the 264 brick piers, which will completely encase the existing stadium and support a steel ring above the pitch. This will create space for the extra spectators – matching the stadium capacity of rival London club Arsenal.
The news means Chelsea can begin preparations on the new stadium, which is expected to take 3 to 4 years to build during which time the Blues will need to find alternative stadium to play at, most likely Wembley Stadium.
The club released a statement, “the council’s planning committee considered the application and we are grateful that planning permission was granted for the redevelopment of our historic home.”
The estimated build cost of £500m will be funded by the clubs Billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich. There are rumours that outside investors from China have shown interest in the project and Abramovich is also reportedly exploring the possibility of selling the stadium’s naming rights.
The next stage is for the club to work closely with council officers and Mayor Sadiq Khan to gain full consent, “the committee decision does not mean that work can begin on site. This is just the latest step, although a significant one, that we have to take before we can commence work, including obtaining various other permissions”.
The club will create a residents’ forum to identify and address any issues which may arise and its estimated that the new stadium will host it’s first game at the start of the 2021/2022 season.
Historically the construction of a new football stadium is rarely a source of joy for those living nearby.
However, DMZ would point any development naysayers to the work of two economists; Gabriel Ahlfeldt, of the LSE, and Georgios Kavetsos of Cass Business School. Their study focused on the impact of two new football stadiums: Arsenal’s Emirates stadium and the new Wembley, concluding that “stadium architecture may play an important role in promoting positive spillovers to the neighbourhood.”
The economists found the construction of a modern stadium actually raises local property prices by as much as 15%. Maybe the new structure could be the shot of investment Prime London postcodes like SW6 need in their current stagnant state.