Chelsea’s plans for a new £1 billion stadium could be derailed after a family living nearby claimed it would block light shining into their home.
The Crosthwaites, who have lived in their west London cottage for 50 years, took out an injunction in May after arguing the new 60,000-capacity stadium would cast a permanent shadow over parts of their home.
Their house sits opposite the stadium, which was granted planning permission one year ago and has been signed off by the Mayor of London.
Chelsea has called on Hammersmith and Fulham Council to intervene and stop the injunction ending the planned development.
The dispute has already delayed the project’s investment and there is a risk that Europe’s most expensive stadium may not get built.
The club told the council that work cannot go ahead while there remains a risk the injunction could stop the development.
Chelsea offered the family legal advice worth £50,000 plus further compensation understood to be in the region of a six-figure sum, but this could not persuade them to waive their right to light in their home.
Daughter Rose said sunlight and daylight would be seriously affected.
“It is deemed as having an unacceptable and harmful impact by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,” she added in a recent letter as part of the case.
The family have said via their lawyers they are not opposed to the redevelopment of the stadium, but have suggested the east stand could be cut-back or re-designed so as not to cause interference.
They highlighted a “disproportionate amount of hospitality seating”, which takes up more space than normal seating.
There will be almost 17,000 hospitality seats, which equates to 28% of the total – far greater than Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium where hospitality comprises 16% of the capacity.
Chelsea has paid compensation to other homeowners who have been affected by losing their right to light. But the other properties look straight at an adjacent hotel, which is to be pulled down to allow Stamford Bridge to be rebuilt. Those houses could actually get more light because the stadium will be further away.
Chelsea claimed the new stadium will “further enhance the economic, cultural and social services they provide”, including £6m worth of educational programmes, a £7m improvement to local infrastructure and an additional £16.3m spent in local businesses as 2.4 million people visit the area annually.
Hammersmith and Fulham council accepts that acquiring the land should only be done where necessary to allow beneficial regeneration to take place and if it justifies interfering with the human rights of those affected.
Roman Abramovich has wanted to increase Chelsea’s stadium capacity for several years but was thwarted in his previous attempts to buy Battersea Power Station, ultimately losing out to property developers.
DealMakerz thinks the Crosthwaites are pretty brave to take on Chelsea and snub its compensation package.
The council is due to make a decision today, but with the family’s solicitors saying they’ll “take all legal action available”, it could drag on for months.
Even if Chelsea is successful, they won’t be able to move into their new grounds until the 2024-25 season. Wembley Stadium is being considered as their possible temporary home.