Saturday 23 September 2017

Chelsea Supporters' Trust welcomes decision for new stadium at Stamford Bridge

A computer-generated image of Chelsea's stadium redevolpment plans
A computer-generated image of Chelsea's stadium redevolpment plans

Chelsea Supporters' Trust accepts fans must be prepared for "some inconvenience" as the club moves forwards with proposals to build a new 60,000-seater stadium at Stamford Bridge.

On Wednesday evening, Hammersmith and Fulham Council's planning and development control committee voted unanimously in favour of the £500million project, which will be funded by owner Roman Abramovich.

Following the decision, Chelsea stressed building work was not about to commence immediately on the club's historic home.

More negotiations lie ahead, including working closely with council officers to gain full planning consent as well as finalising the design of the new venue and logistics plans for the surrounding area, which will include a residents' forum.

Chelsea Pitch Owners, the group which owns the freehold to the land on which the stadium sits, welcomed the news which helps to ensure the club will remain at Stamford Bridge, its home since 1905, in the long-term.

Despite all of the positives, there is nevertheless set to be a period of disruption ahead while all of the work is eventually carried out, which could include a period where Chelsea would have to find a temporary home, with Twickenham and Wembley having been mooted as options.

Chelsea Supporters' Trust will continue to work with the club to make sure the overall impact on supporters is limited.

"We welcome both the decision made by Mr Abramovich to redevelop the football stadium rather than move to another part of London and the Council's unanimous decision to approve these exciting and ambitious plans," a statement from CST read.

"Stamford Bridge and Chelsea FC can now remain part of the community for many years to come, playing football in one of the finest stadiums in the country and one that reflects our rich history.

"Mr Abramovich's team should be congratulated for their sensitive handling of and full engagement with supporters and the wider community in putting the planning submission together.

"As supporters we are mindful that there will be much change and perhaps some inconvenience during the rebuilding period with a temporary move to another stadium and then with the move back to the new stadium once the redevelopment has been completed."

Chelsea had looked at alternative sites, including Battersea Power Station, as they seek to increase their current capacity of 41,663, currently the seventh biggest in the Premier League, and will face logistical difficulties ahead by deciding to stay where they are.

It remains to be seen just where and for how long Chelsea would have to play home matches away from Stamford Bridge because of the development work.

The CST added: "W e will continue to seek dialogue with the club on matters such as ticket pricing to mitigate the additional expense and inconvenience of travelling to a temporary stadium; to encourage and increase the opportunity for younger supporters to gain access to reasonably priced tickets and to assist with plans to create the best possible atmosphere at matches through sensitive seating plans where like-minded supporters can congregate together.

"During the redevelopment we will continue to talk to the appointed consultants, the club and other relevant stakeholders to help ensure supporter opinion is properly and openly taken into account with regard to issues such as facilities, ticket pricing, safe standing, seating plans and atmosphere as we look to move back to the redeveloped stadium.

"Whilst planning permission hopefully goes a long way to safeguarding the future of Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea Supporters' Trust will continue to support the Chelsea Pitch Owners in their aims to keep Chelsea FC playing football in the stadium now and for generations to come."

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