Hammersmith and Fulham Council unanimously approved Chelsea Football Club’s plan to redevelop its Stamford Bridge stadium on Wednesday night, after two hours and fifty-two minutes of hearings and deliberations.
The hearing which took place at Hammersmith town hall was a generally positive one with many of the councillors particularly complementing the design of the new Stamford Bridge stadium with one councillor likening its design to the work of Giles Gilbert Scott — famous for Liverpool Cathedral, Waterloo Bridge, and Battersea Power Station.
Roman Abramovich hired revered architects Herzog & de Meuron to spearhead the design process and in the plans submitted last year reportedly drawing on Westminster Abbey among their influences for the brick columned structure.
The architects who designed Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ will be commissioned to oversee the construction of the new Stamford Bridge stadium, the capacity of which is expected to be 60,000 seats — up nearly 50% from the current iterations 41,629.
Redevelopments are expected to cost around £500 million and should be ready for the 2021/22 season.
Information gathered by Mail Sport asserts that the new stadium will have roughly 18,400 new seats. The plan for 13,374 of these tickets is likely to go toward “general admission” which includes season ticket holders and members of the club.
The new stadium will double the amount of seats Stamford Bridge reserved for disabled supporters and their carers if one should be necessary.
CPO on board
It was thought that Chelsea and Abramovich could have problems with the Chelsea Pitch Owners regarding the construction of the Blues’ new home, however, a statement released by the CPO — almost immediately after permission for redevelopment had been granted — read: “the Chelsea Pitch Owners welcomes the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham’s approval of the planning application for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.”
There had been a slight rift between Abramovich and the CPO after the Russian oil-baron attempted to buy the freehold from the company’s shareholders in October of 2011, under somewhat shady circumstances, as Chelsea’s upper brass looked for a new site to build a stadium on.
The Chelsea Pitch Owners was set up in 1993 as a provision that ensures that Chelsea’s home since 1905 would never be taken away from the fans. Chelsea and Roman Ambramovich still need to get the CPO’s permission for work to begin on the new build, although it’s expected this will not be much of a problem.
According to reporter Dan Levene’s article on Eurosport the CPO could extend their least on Stamford Bridge to as much as 999 years — it currently has 180 years left to run. The CPO hold their AGM later this month.
Chelsea Supporters Trust have their say
While the Chelsea Supporters Trust voiced their delight at the Hammersmith and Fulham council's decision to grant planning permission, and praised the Chelsea owner for his “sensitive handling of and full engagement with supporters and the wider community in putting the planning submission together.”
The Chelsea Supporters Trust will, however, support the CPO in safeguarding the future of Stamford Bridge and aim to keep the Blues playing there for years to come.
Between now and then, though, a new home has to be found for Chelsea to play their home games. While it is widely thought that Chelsea will play their home matches at Wembley Stadium, it is understood that the club are looking at other possibilities including a ground share with West Ham United at the Olympic Stadium, and Twickenham rugby stadium.