Deep Dive: Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge redevelopment — Trying to keep the train on the tracks

stamford-bridge-gates--a-design-competition.img

London is in the middle of a stadium arms race. Next season, West Ham will join Arsenal in playing at a 60,000 seater venue, while the new White Hart Lane, capacity 61,000, is finally starting to emerge from the ground and will be a world-class home for Spurs.

Not wanting to be left behind, Chelsea late last year announced plans for a 60,000 capacity stadium of their own to replace Stamford Bridge.

I have written extensively about the new Spurs stadium, and will continue to monitor developments through the construction phase. I have also covered the deal that secured West Ham the use of the Olympic Stadium, an agreement that has drawn strong criticism over value for money offered to the taxpayer.

In this post, I am going to examine Chelsea’s plans in some detail. Of all the stadium projects in London, it is arguably the most ambitious.

After years of trying and failing to secure an alternative site in West London, Chelsea in December last year unveiled plans to demolish Stamford Bridge (capacity 41,798) and replace it with a new 60,000 capacity stadium.

To achieve a bigger stadium, Chelsea’s architects have drawn up innovative plans to expand the boundaries of the site, raising all manner of issues that the planners at Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council and other authorities will have to weigh up in their decision-making process.

I have spent several weeks researching the proposals and soliciting information. In this post, I will discuss various aspects of the project including the complications arising from the need to construct over railway lines, matters relating to finance and housing, and potential security concerns.

From my research, it is clear that there are serious hurdles for Chelsea to overcome. I can reveal that certain aspects of the project are now being redesigned, and a further public consultation will be required, raising the possibility of delays.

Before I start, I want to make one thing clear: I have no objection to Chelsea building a new stadium. I am writing this piece as much to educate myself as anything — as regular readers know, I find these projects fascinating.

Football stadiums are our modern-day cathedrals, vast monuments to our devotion and places of congregation. Stamford Bridge had a 99.7% attendance in 2014/15, and if the club feels there is sufficient supporter demand, and local fans in particular are being prevented from attending, then of course they have every right to try to build a bigger stadium.

It makes no difference to me as a Spurs fan if Chelsea build a new stadium — I am sure we will show it due respect when we visit.

I welcome feedback and comments — these are huge documentation bundles and no doubt there are interesting things that I have not covered. If you want to read my previous “deep dives”, you can find them here. Full coverage on the Spurs stadium project can be found here. The planning documents are here.

Railways and delays

When I first looked at these plans in December last year, there was one aspect that immediately jumped out at me as being potentially problematic beyond the more typical planning issues associated with a project of this size. Namely, the need to build over railway lines.

While Spurs had to undergo the torturous process of compulsory purchases orders to acquire the necessary land, much of what Chelsea are attempting will be achieved by knocking down the existing stadium, “Chelsea Village” apartment blocks and the two hotels on site.

The club does not own the freehold of the stadium, which is held by the fan-owned Chelsea Pitch Owners. There is no agreement yet, as far as I am aware, but one assumes that eventually the club reaches a deal that enables them to proceed.

While this makes it easier, the problem Chelsea have is that the site simply isn’t big enough for a 60,000 seater stadium. To create enough space, the project will sprawl out, Blob-like, over both the District Line underground line, and the “Southern Mainline” on the eastern side. These maps show how the boundaries will expand:

MAPCOMP

Chelsea are planning major changes to Fulham Broadway underground station to create direct access, and will construct decking over the line. On the other side, the club will again construct decking, and trains will run under the East Stand (see image below).

As you can see from the maps, this is a considerable land grab by Chelsea. While the East Stand would go over the railway, the decking stretches out all the way across the “cutting” and up to Brompton Cemetery. It covers the length of the eastern side of the scheme, and connects up with Fulham Road.

While the District Line essentially going “underground” for another hundred metres is one thing, the Southern Mainline is an overground line. If you look along its route, from Clapham to Willesden Junction, nothing is built “over” it, with the notable exception of Earls Court Two (update 14.20pm: which is being demolished — thanks to Twitter user Ross Paul for pointing this out).

The line carries passenger services — London Overground and Southern — and is also the main freight route through the west side of London.

The Chelsea plan struck me as problematic for two reasons. One, this is public infrastructure and there must be limits to what is “allowed” in terms of private development going over the top of it. Two, a long covered section, quite tightly enclosed as the long-section shows, may pose maintenance and “future-proofing” problems.

East Stand Long Section

The authority that will ultimately decide whether Chelsea can build over the Southern Mainline is Network Rail, which also owns the land. I contacted them to get their view.

In addition to answering my questions on various matters, they provided a copy of their correspondence with Hammersmith and Fulham planners. These are public documents that are part of the planning process, but they have not yet been published online by the council, at least as far as I can see.

In its correspondence, Network Rail describes Chelsea’s plan as a “major operational liability” citing maintenance and safety concerns, and says it is yet to give its approval.

“Due to the East Stand sitting directly above the railway the new structure represents a potential major operation liability for us in terms of safeguarding future access for inspection and maintenance requirements and similar (and the ongoing cost implications of this) and also to ensure that the appropriate railway standards are followed in this design to safeguard the safety of the railway and the travelling public.”

The correspondence also reveals that changes are being made to the design of the eastern decking, and these changes will require a further public consultation phase.

“We understand design of the deck is undergoing significant revision due to recent planning objections relating to neighboring properties immediately east of the stadium, and that both the height and the horizontal extent of the deck are likely to change.

“We look forward to reviewing the amendments as they are prepared, via the APA (Asset Protection Agreement), and will write to you again following the further public consultation phase that will take place when these plans are formally submitted to the LPA (local planning authority)”.

Network Rail notes that the redesign, as of the February date of the letter, was at too early a stage for engineers to approve.

As Network Rail makes clear, an “Asset Protection Agreement” would need to be reached between the rail authority and Chelsea before planning permission can be granted. Alternatively, conditions requiring Network Rail’s consent could be inserted into a planning agreement. It warns that as the stadium offers no “operational benefit” for railway users, the taxpayer should not be liable for any increased maintenance obligations or liabilities arising from the project.

Simply put, until Chelsea can come up with a design on the eastern side of the project that satisfies Network Rail in terms of maintenance, safety and cost, the project cannot proceed. The need for a further public consultation will mean delays.

Right to light and other issues

While the railway poses a specific and major headache, a project of this scale inevitably raises a host of more run-of-the-mill planning issues.

In its planning statement, the club identifies issues such as traffic, “right to light”, noise, air quality and so forth, and presents its arguments of how it feels the scheme complies with the many codes and standards in place to control development in London.

For example, Chelsea argue that the construction of a direct access to a rebuilt Fulham Broadway station will reduce congestion on Fulham Road on match days. It may well, but it should be noted that the proposed eastern decking creates a whole new egress onto Fulham Road just a 100 yards or so down the road. These are factors the planners will weigh in their deliberations.

One issue of concern will be “right to light” — the principle that new developments should not tower over other buildings and block out their sunlight. For 60,000 capacity stadiums in residential areas, this is tricky.

In its planning statement, Chelsea note that “moderate (significant) adverse effects as a result of a loss of daylight are limited to only one property.”

Looking at the plans, my best guess is that this is one of the properties immediately north of the site, in the Brompton Park development. As you can see from the comparison below, the new north stand will be much taller, and closer to the houses the other side of the District Line. I am sure the planners would want to scrutinize this assessment closely — the wording strikes me as rather careful.

NS Long Section Comp

From my reading of the other maps and drawings, the properties to the south have long been overshadowed by Chelsea Village, and the new stadium won’t be any closer or taller on this side.

On the western side are the Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions, which houses disabled and vulnerable veterans. From my reading of the plans, the West Stand won’t be significantly taller or closer than it already is. However, three years of demolition and reconstruction work, not to mention increased traffic from 19,000 additional supporters, may not be welcomed by residents and managers of this community.

The good news for Chelsea is that there don’t appear to be significant heritage issues. Spurs, by contrast, had to seek consent to demolish three listed buildings, which delayed the project and created risk in securing all of the required approvals.

There is a one conservation issue to overcome. Running parallel to the Southern Mainline is a “cutting”, a sliver of green — so precious in London — called the Billings and Brompton Cutting Conservation Area. The planned decking on the eastern side will cover this.

Chelsea’s planning statement identifies the line of argument that the club may take. It cites a previously consented scheme (since renewed) to construct a railway station for Chelsea Village where the cutting stands. The club will be hoping that no-one has identified any new bat colonies or rare newts in the intervening years.

Blank slate, blank cheque

Having read through Chelsea’s planning statement, nowhere does it mention how much the scheme will cost, or how the club intends to pay for it.

A vague figure of £500 million has been put about, but quite how this was arrived at is not clear. The club has provided no details of how it will secure the funding. The assumption is that Roman Abramovich will ultimately fill in any gaps in the financing, but even for someone worth many billions of pounds, we are talking potentially large amounts of money.

As I have previously mentioned, the Spurs scheme will cost between £675 million and £750 million in total. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has put the cost of the stadium itself at about £500 million.

For Spurs, the main cost beyond the construction itself was securing the necessary land. For Chelsea, depending on the deal struck with Chelsea Pitch Owners, the biggest cost may come from needing to rebuild Chelsea VIllage.

The two hotels on site will be demolished and not rebuilt — the planning statement notes that “it is assumed a proportion of hotel employees will be redeployed elsewhere in the proposed development” but makes no promises, potentially undermining the arguments that the redevelopment will boost the local economy through creating jobs.

But you can’t simply demolish housing. Chelsea Village has 38 apartments with total floor space of 4,005 square metres, and Chelsea must find an alternative site and rebuild it. This will be both difficult and enormously expensive in Hammersmith and Fulham.

As for the build itself, construction over railways sounds expensive and difficult, but this isn’t my area of expertise. I’d welcome any suggestions.

For Spurs, clear plans on financing the stadium were required to secure compulsory purchase orders, from my understanding of the court documents in the Archway case. The club needed to demonstrate that it had viable plans for completing its planned scheme, and wasn’t merely using the stadium proposals as a pretext to acquire the land.

Chelsea may need to demonstrate a similar viability to reach a deal with Chelsea Pitch Owners, who may be concerned that such a grandiose scheme is a merely a ruse to secure the freehold.

One other area of additional cost will be compensation to Network Rail for building over the Southern Mainline, if maintenance and safety concerns can be assuaged (likewise TFL for construction over the District Line).

A Network Rail spokesman told me that each development that requires construction over a railway is treated on merit. But, if Chelsea are given the go-ahead, Network Rail will surely require significant compensation both to cover any foreseen future costs, and also to extract a sufficient “pound of flesh” to discourage other well-heeled individuals or expanding businesses from seeing a precedent in Chelsea’s plans to build over its land.

Safety concerns

As previously mentioned, the Southern Mainline is a major freight route as well as a route for passenger services. Having used West Brompton station frequently, I can attest to how often these massive freight trains rumble through.

There is one particular type of freight that travels along the line which may give the planners pause before giving Chelsea permission to build a stadium over the top of it — nuclear waste.

Trains operated by Direct Rail Services carry nuclear waste on the Southern Mainline, from the defueling work at the Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent, through west London to Willesden Junction, and then onwards to wherever the hell it goes.

In 2006, Greenpeace published a schedule of these “nuclear trains” — if the same schedule remains in place, the trains rumble through West Brompton at 7.15pm on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings. You don’t have to be Frederick Forsyth to envisage the potential — however microscopic — for Europa League nights Chez Roman to suddenly become a lot more interesting.

Trying to establish whether these trains still run, and whether there is any serious risk here, is pretty hard — after all, the schedule is supposed to be a secret.

I checked in with David Polden, an anti-nuclear campaigner who follows nuclear train issues closely, and he confirmed that the trains do indeed still run, and will continue to do so until Dungeness B is shut down (initial target date 2008, latest target date 2028).

The risk from these trains is threefold: fire, radiation leaks and terrorism.

According to Polden, the design of the decking above the railway — with an opening at one side, rather than a standard tunnel — reduces the risk of an intense fire that would burn above the 800 degrees C that the nuclear “flasks” carrying the spent fuel rods are tested to withstand (an oil fire in a standard tunnel can burn at 2000 degrees C). The risk from radiation is insignificant from passing trains — this is only a problem when nuclear trains, which leak continuously, spend time in sidings.

However, concerns over terrorism have been considered in relation to sporting events in London. Trains carrying spent fuel from the Sizewell A nuclear station in Suffolk, which normally pass through the Olympic park, were stopped a month before the 2012 games, and for its duration, per Polden.

“Having nuclear trains running under a Chelsea grandstand would surely also constitute a tempting target for a terrorist wanting a high-publicity, perhaps high-casualty, target,” Polden said.

I contacted Direct Rail Services, which operates Britain’s nuclear trains. They said they had not yet been notified by Network Rail. In this type of situation, plans first have to be approved by Network Rail, and then train operators get the chance to raise concerns. Network Rail said it doesn’t anticipate any significant issues with operators. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority — and this is a sentence I never envisaged writing as a football blogger — did not respond to requests to comment.

How real a problem is this? I have tried to contact various experts or organisations without success — funnily enough, when you ask people about this sort of thing, more likely than not they think you are nuts.

(Greenpeace, who published the original research, should have been the exception and have proven particularly frustrating to deal with — they have certainly lived up to their reputation as being more interested in celebrity campaigns than answering legitimate questions on environmental issues.)

Evidently, we are talking a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage in likelihood that anything goes wrong. The same trains have been running under Earls Court Two quite safely since it was constructed. Halting nuclear trains, if done from a security perspective, was just one of a number of elaborate security measures taken during the Olympics. Authorities also put surface-to-air missile on top of tower blocks in anticipation of… well, whatever crazy scenario they had gamed out as an excuse to show off their toys and reassure the public.

But, looking at things from another perspective, does running trains carrying nuclear waste under a 60,000 seater stadium seem like a remotely sensible idea?

If this all feels far-fetched, even running standard passenger trains through a tight space under a crowded stadium poses a risk.

The terrorist attacks targeting the Stade de France last year underscore the issue of stadium security. Any new development that creates a security issue of any kind, no matter how microscopic in likelihood and crazy sounding, will draw scrutiny from authorities in the current environment.

Final thought

The issues I have outlined are just a few of those in play, What Chelsea are attempting is both hugely ambitious, and fraught with risk. Chelsea only need to look at Spurs to see how many obstacles they will need to overcome before they can begin work. If even one link in the chain is weak, that could mean years of delays as legal cases crawl through the courts. There is nothing about building a 60,000 seater stadium in London that is easy — and frankly, it should be hard.

Chelsea originally planned to begin work in the 2017/18 season, but with Spurs close to announcing an agreement with the FA for Wembley and reservations over the ability of the stadium to host two teams at the same time, it would appear likely that Chelsea are already aware that the timetable is slipping.

Per journalist Dan Levene, there are other indications that Chelsea will still be at Stamford Bridge in 2017/18:

The first indications were well-sourced suggestions that corporate hospitality at The Bridge was still being sold on a two and three season basis – suggesting that a move to Wembley, or some other location, may be further off than anticipated. There is also intelligence leaking out that matchday ancillary staff, whose service would almost certainly not be required during any period at Wembley, have been told their jobs will remain safe beyond the end of next season.

I am certain, when Chelsea set out on this plan, they would have done so expecting a detailed back-and-forth with planners and the need to make alterations. Spurs went through the same process in getting approval from the planners in Haringey.

In a club statement in December, Chelsea hinted at exactly this:

“The planning process will last beyond the end of the season; if the application is granted planning permission there will still be a lot of work to do before redevelopment can start, including obtaining various other consents.”

As I said at the top of the story, I have no objections to Chelsea building a bigger stadium — as far as I’m concerned as a Spurs fan, bring it on.

Looking at what is planned, Chelsea appear to be going to quite extraordinary lengths and expense for a significantly smaller capacity increase than Spurs. While Spurs’ capacity will increase by 68 percent, for Chelsea it will increase by 43.5 percent. [Update: I’ve corrected these percentages, maths never my strongest suit…]

Your wonder, if Network Rail is ultimately unwilling to give approval to the plans, whether there are other ways to expand the stadium on the existing site without spilling over above the railway? It may not achieve a 60,000 capacity to match Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham, but Chelsea may be able to get closer.

As Chelsea note though, it isn’t just capacity that necessitates a new stadium, but also inadequate amenities and issues of access and egress that many supporters who travel to the Bridge will have experienced. There may be some alternatives in the new design with a smaller East Stand that doesn’t cover the railway tracks. It may not be quite the monument that Chelsea and Mr Abramovich desire, but it would fulfill the purpose of a new and better stadium.

Whatever happens, Chelsea fans will eagerly await further news of the redevelopment, as will local residents and businesses. In the meantime, as last Monday proved, Stamford Bridge is still a characterful and atmospheric football stadium, at least when Spurs are the opposition.

Thanks for reading. Please follow me on Twitter for more chat. Contact details in the About page.

 

Update: 10/05/16 10:00am.

In this piece I quoted journalist Dan Levene, who has covered the Chelsea stadium more closely than anyone . He sent a detailed response to my article — it fills in a number of gaps, and adds valuable perspective. As I said in the piece, there are bound to be things I have missed or misunderstood — the great pleasure of these “deep dives” is the quality of feedback they receive. Below is Dan’s response in full:

This is a very well researched and written article, rightly turning a critical eye to several aspects of Chelsea’s proposed major development.

However, as one who has spent a great deal of time researching and writing about some of the issues you raise, I felt a number of points needed addressing.

Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO)

Chelsea Football Club does not need ownership of the freehold to demolish and rebuild Stamford Bridge. It was the general understanding that its owner did at least want this, hence the battle in 2011 to obtain it. However, the current intelligence is that this desire is cooling: framed, not least, by the knowledge that this may now be an unobtainable goal.

The desire to own the freehold was understood to be linked, in part, to the wish to access external funding streams: ie. a cash for equity swap. In recent weeks, there has been speculation that a major extension of the lease to, say, 999 years may provide the permanence in residence the club would need to attract a venture capital partner.

Network Rail

This article relies heavily upon the ‘major operational liability’ phrase used by Network Rail in its planning submission. Having previously worked in the area of Network Rail’s economic and safety regulation for some years, I have a reasonable understanding of this particular area of the project.

I can say with certainty that, following the Gerrards Cross tunnel collapse in 2005 (where a Tesco superstore was being built over the railway), Network Rail has been pushed to consider pretty much all such proposed development as a ‘major operational liability’. In part, this is because of a drive to re-evaluate it’s risk assessment procedures, biut it is also used as a bargaining tool at the planning stage of developments.

Network Rail is required to extract the maximum potential value from usable land, as a funding stream, at a time when the government is attempting to drive down its direct cost to the taxpayer. Thus, while the terms of any such deal to build over the railway will be a matter of commercial posturing, there will be an expectation there there will be a will to go ahead.

One issue that this article fails to address, and which has presented itself as a huge red flag (at least to me) from day one, is that the plans seem to require construction to take place over a live, working railway. I would be surprised if, with hindsight of the Gerrards Cross case, Network Rail’s risk management procedures would allow that to happen. If they do not, then that will significantly impact on the build times.

Nuclear trains

While I share the author’s concerns about the freighting of nuclear waste around the country by railway, there is a little context needed here.

This is a practice that has gone on for decades. It is impossible to say that any risk stands at precisely zero, but the extent to which waste in these trains is insulated, and the incredibly high safety bar employed these days in the nuclear industry, mean that the risks here are as close to zero as is practicable.

These trains pass in close proximity to large numbers of people practically every day. Stand on the platform at Willesden Junction from 7.30pm to 8.30pm on a weekday evening and you are almost guaranteed to see one pass by. (I am not raising any security risk by revealing this – timetables are well publicised online). While I have strong personal reservations about the use of nuclear power, and the environmental risks attached to the disposal of its unwanted produce, being aware of the risks I had absolutely no concerns standing by as one of these quarter-mile long trains passed within a yard of my nose last Thursday evening.

While nuclear freight movements were, indeed, halted for the period of the Olympics, they have been permitted to run without incident directly underneath concerts and other major visitor attraction events at Earls Court for many years.

Rebuilding Chelsea Village

While the plans include an undertaking to provide alternative residential accommodation, to the same standard and value, elsewhere within the borough for existing Stamford Bridge residents, they say nothing about ‘building’ these. While I have no particular intelligence in this area, it may be worth noting that the Earls Court Masterplan includes a proposal for 7,500 new homes of a similar style, and to a parallel (or higher) standard, at the other end of Brompton Cemetery. There have been plenty of recent column inches devoted to the saturation of the luxury apartment market caused by this, and the Battersea Power Station development, and the difficulty developers are now having in shifting these units.

I make these points on an entirely personal basis, and don’t seek to represent anyone else in doing so. It is right to scrutinise Chelsea’s plans here, and in my submission there are a number of areas in which they don’t entirely stand up to the most severe testing. However, particularly as I am quoted in your piece, I thought it important to address a number of misapprehensions the piece appears to promote.

 

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Deep Dive: Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge redevelopment — Trying to keep the train on the tracks

  1. Mike

    There are two precedents I am aware of for building on top of a London overground line – although not with such a significant development – the extension of a park/square over the top of a railyway line to provide the frontage for a new development of flats that abutted the park (http://www.planningresource.co.uk/article/1048970/it-arundel-square-london) and construction of the new Dalston Junction station which has large block of flats over the top of the station.

    Like

    Reply
    1. thespursreport Post author

      Does freight run through the Dalston Junction or Arundal Square ones? I imagine, it is the combo of freight, the compact area and the fact it is a stadium rather than more typical development that may make give planners pause? It’ll be interesting to see what sort of deal Chelsea can strike with Network Rail

      Like

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Freight certainly runs on the Stratford to Richmond line and goes through Highbury & Islington overground station (and onwards to under Arundel Square) – http://www.networkrail.co.uk/RoutePlans/PDF/RouteE-NorthLondonLine.pdf

        Not sure about the East London Line branch of the Overground.

        I agree that it would certainly be a challenge to build such a large landmark structure over a busy overground line – the repair issues alone would be challenging – what happens in 20 years time? Not to mention the security issues on matchday. What happens if there is a derailment?

        Like

  2. mrparkersdogbite

    As a Chelsea fan who is very interested in the stadium plans this article makes very interesting reading. I didn’t detect any particular bias in your assessment of the issues despite your status as a Spurs fan, so credit to you for that.

    It is indeed a very ambitious plan and the developers have tended to be over-optimistic over timescales so far. I fully expect a further delay of a year or two before the plans can move forward. Building over the railway lines may well be the biggest issue though I have heard that Network Rail themselves have plans to build over the Southern Mainline where it goes under Kings Road so I’m hoping that won’t want to be too obstructive to Chelsea’s plans for building over the track. Your stuff about the redesign of the Eastern Decking is brand new and appears to result from various objections from Billings residents (which can be seen on the RBKC site). This will inevitably introduce a delay.

    Your point about the likely cost of the stadium is well made. I’ve always said that £500m is a big underestimate as while there are no costs for the land required, the complexity of the design and the overall scheme are such that costs are bound to rise significantly. I would say, however, that there are no plans to reconstruct Chelsea Village elsewhere in the borough. The club (or rather Fordstam, the club’s holding company) has been buying up the flats for some time and the intention is to relocate individual leaseholders into alternative accommodation where appropriate. There is no reason to keep all of the residents together and construct a new development in the area – which as you say would be fraught with difficulties.

    Finally, I think your nuclear concerns are greatly exaggerated and are perhaps the only part of your article where your allegiance seemed somewhat apparent. These trains have been passing by the station for a very long time without incident (and, as you say, are due to be phased out anyway). Given appropriate security there’s no reason why this should be seen as an impediment to the plans. If you’re looking for potential obstacles, the CPO is likely to be a much bigger one – but that’s a different story.

    Anyway, thanks for your research on the plans. It was mostly very illuminating.

    Like

    Reply
    1. thespursreport Post author

      Thanks for the detailed and insightful comments. I wasn’t aware of Network Rail plans around the Kings Road — and I will check out the RBKC site.

      For Chelsea Village, this is the exact wording:

      “It is proposed that an alternative site elsewhere within the borough to re-provide the residential units lost as a result of the Proposed Development will be identified and delivered prior to occupation of the new stadium. It is envisaged this will be secured through a legal agreement and will ensure that there is no net loss of housing in the borough as a result of the Proposed Development, in line with London Plan Policy 3.14, Core Strategy Policy H1 and DMLP Policy DM A1.”

      My reading was that this had to be “new” housing — as there could be no net loss. I.E, Chelsea can’t just buy 38 existing apartments. But, as you say, they don’t have to be together.

      As for nuclear stuff — it is certainly a bit “out there”. The broader point (perhaps not adequately made), was that any area of doubt/difficulty can seized upon by those who wish to obstruct the development. In the Spurs case, Archway Sheet Metal used a wide variety of arguments to slow down the project as they didn’t want to move site, regardless of the money Spurs were offering. Could this be an angle used by residents who want it to stopped? Maybe, or maybe not. But if I can find out about the nuclear trains, I’m sure anyone else can. As you say, it may just be some bias coming through that I am even thinking in this way.

      On CPO, this isn’t an area I know anything about, and I’d certainly be interested to learn more. It is an unusual situation — from the outside it seems strange that Chelsea haven’t managed to secure the freehold already, but I daresay there are all sorts of politics in play.

      Like

      Reply
      1. thedrogsofwar

        “On CPO, this isn’t an area I know anything about, and I’d certainly be interested to learn more. It is an unusual situation — from the outside it seems strange that Chelsea haven’t managed to secure the freehold already, but I daresay there are all sorts of politics in play.”

        They tried to secure it back in 2011 and it failed miserably, so I don’t think they are keen to try it again. It would require 75% of share owners to vote in favor of selling the freehold back and that’s not something likely to happen, either. (We shareholders are rather proud of our unique situation!) The last attempt was a huge fiasco that included Club board members attempting to sway the vote by getting their rich cronies to buy hundreds of shares at the last minute. At the time 1 share = 1 vote no matter how many you had. This has since been changed and I believe you can have a maximum of 10 votes. I don’t see CPO as being an obstacle as the main aim of it is to keep Chelsea Football Club on the existing site of Stamford Bridge. The problem would be if Roman had got one of the other sites he wanted (Battersea, Earls Court, etc) and intended to move the club. CPO owns the freehold on the land the stadium is on and also owns the “Chelsea Football Club” name. If Roman were to move the club, he wouldn’t be able to call it Chelsea Football Club without permission from CPO. Now that the plan is to demolish the existing stadium and build a new one on the same site, pretty much every CPO shareholder is happy!

        Like

    2. kojak (@kojaks_passage)

      Mr. PD–I want to apologise to you for being abusive on twitter shortly after I was banned from CC. I shouldn’t have spoken to you, of all people, like that. I’ll understand if you don’t want to accept my apology, a sincere one, but I wanted you know that I am genuinely sorry.

      Like

      Reply
    3. kojak (@kojaks_passage)

      Mr. PD–I want to apologise to you for the abusive way I spoke to you on twitter shortly after I was banned from CC. I am genuinely very sorry, I should never have spoken, to you of all people, in the way I did. I am genuinely very sorry & my apology is as sincere as it could possibly be.

      I’ll understand if you don’t want to accept my apology, it was just important to me to get this apology to you somehow, hence using this site.

      Regards RisingSun

      Like

      Reply
  3. William

    Thanks. Very interesting appraisal of the current situation and possible start date, especially as last week a press snippet was still peddling the story rhat Spurs and Chelsea would be sharing Wembley in 2017-18 with Chelsea expecting to receive planning approval in July or September.

    Like

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Chelsea's new stadium facing potential delays over railway issues - We Ain't Got No History - Dectimes

  5. 2nil and you f'd it up

    Interesting article, my observations:

    Nuclear trains: irrelevant, they do and will pass under Earl’s Court already without issue.

    Planning: the part you have missed is that as yet CFC have not provided detailed plans for the demolition and waste removal. This is contentious because the build will overlap with Earl’s Court and there will be a lot of HGV traffic on surrounding roads as a result. Until there has been an approved plan for traffic routes I don’t see LBH&F giving this the nod.

    MP / Mayor: Boris was in favour of football stadium builds, Spurs in fact benefited from this as you should know. Khan is unknown, Gregg Hands has made a statement on his website which is pretty non committal. The political will in these types of projects is very influential. My main problem with CFC is they don’t seem to have tried to get the MP onside.

    I think the borough would be short-sighted not to approve the plans in some form. The area around Fulham Broadway would change drastically for the worse if CFC move away. I don’t really mind if we wind up with 55k stadium due to compromises, the atmosphere would probably be better anyway.

    Like

    Reply
  6. kojak (@kojaks_passage)

    You say Chelsea’s matchday capacity will increase by 30%????? 41,000–60,000, by my reckoning that is almost 50%. 50% of 41,000 is 20,500. 41,000+20,500=61,500 (only 1,500 over the 50% mark.

    You say it’s not clear where the funding is coming from. Well, as a CPO shareholder & someone who attends all CST meetings & both the public consultations on the new stadium it was made perfectly clear to me–Roman Abramovich will be funding the whole project. A separate entity (separate from CFC) will be overseeing the project & it will be funded solely by Abramovich.

    Like

    Reply
  7. kojak (@kojaks_passage)

    Regarding inadequate amenities—There is absolutely nothing wrong with the amenities at CFC. There are far more amenities at the current stadium than there will be at the new proposed stadium, & the quality of them is very high indeed. There are 3 club shops, the largest of which was the biggest in the counter when opened in the late 90’s. Two hotels, a health & fitness club with elevated outdoor running track, a half Olympic size swimming pool (how many grounds can say that), a museum, a nightclub with live bands (that has won many awards), an underground car park for public use, an on site pub that shows all home 3pm kick off games, a TV broadcasting centre (how many clubs have their own live TV channel) 26 hospitality suites, yes 26, hospitality boxes that match any in the country (17 millennium suites at a cost of £1m per annum), several restaurants open on non matchdays too ( 5 that I can think of), the Great Hall–a huge area that can accommodate events like POTY & CPO special dinner dances (club used to have hire The Hilton Hotel before they had this facility).

    I am not saying things are perfect or cannot be improved upon but you often hear complaints at Chelsea that there are TOOMANY amenities for a football club.

    Like

    Reply
  8. Ayo

    I am a very interested Chelsea fan, in regards to the new stadium, so I enjoyed reading this.

    The one thing I don’t get is why we have not tried or seen any evidence of proposals to acquire the buildings separating the stadium and Fulham road. By doing this it should eliminate or a least reduce the amount of decking need for one of the railways (I believe the district line) going through Fulham Broadway station. This would also mean the veterans home is less impacted on matchdays and during contraction. In addition, the at least improves safety fears, allows a wider and better access during contraction and matchdays, and allows the stadium to have reduce issues with future proofing or stadium expansion for the future.

    Has this been considered? Or is there a reason that I have missed why they cannot do this as spurs have?

    Like

    Reply
    1. thespursreport Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve got no answer to that — I assume, they have looked at it? If they did it that way, they may be able to rotate the stadium and no have to go over the tracks. May be protections on buildings — Spurs mostly bought industrial sites

      Like

      Reply
      1. jamie

        The purchase of the surrounding properties has been in operation since Ken Bates time and continues;many of the properties are now owned by the club. However, there are a number of properties that have always refused Chelsea’s advances and continue to do so.

        Mention of Ken Bates brings a further issue; Captain Birdseye still owns the most exclusive of the Stamford Bridge apartments, the one that directly overlooks the pitch. I believe it will take a King’s ransom to get him to agree to move on.

        Like

  9. Pingback: A Spurs summer reading list | The Spurs Report

  10. Pingback: Naming rights and wrongs: Spurs begin the search for stadium sponsors | The Spurs Report

  11. Pingback: New stadium update: ‘More or less’ on time and budget, 500 White Hart Lane, the NFL gamble explained, and more | The Spurs Report

  12. Pingback: A review of 2016 on The Spurs Report — numbers, analysis, top posts and thanks | The Spurs Report

  13. Pingback: Spurs, Chelsea and two very different stadiums | The Spurs Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s