Boost for Chelsea after council ruling in battle of Stamford Bridge
Chelsea have made a breakthrough in the deadlock with neighbours which threatened to stall their plans to redevelop their Stamford Bridge ground.
London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham council on Monday night said it could take over discussions with owners of nearby properties who had launched a High Court injunction to stop work on the planned 60,000-seater stadium, saying it would block their sunlight.
It means key talks over the 'right to light' issue may now be held with the council rather than the football club so work can continue barring any further legal action. The injunction is no longer valid, according to a council spokesman.
All council cabinet members at the meeting approved the move apart from one person who abstained after saying she was a season ticket-holder.
The Crosthwaite family, who own 1-2 Stamford Cottages and had lodged the injunction, will be entitled to compensation.
The club are still trying to reach an agreement with the householders but the council's decision provides a safety net if talks break down.
The council plans to use its powers under planning law to buy the air rights over part of Stamford Bridge and the railway line which sits between the stadium and the two affected homes.
It would then lease the land back to Chelsea and railway operators Network Rail, meaning the Crosthwaites would be entitled to compensation but would not be able to prevent the redevelopment.
No date has been put in place for when this decision might be invoked.
A Chelsea spokesman said: ''We are grateful to Hammersmith and Fulham Council for their decision, which is the latest step on our journey towards redeveloping of our historic home.
''The new stadium at Stamford Bridge will ensure the long-term future of the c lub in Fulham, create a world-class match-day experience for fans and allow us to increase our investment in the local community.
''It will be a new destination that compares to other great stadia around the globe and strengthen London's iconic status as the world's leading city of sport."