CHELSEA HAVE BEEN granted planning permission to increase the capacity of Stamford Bridge to 60,000 by Hammersmith and Fulham council at a hearing on Wednesday evening.
The meeting could be regarded as a historic day for the club as it is intended to mark the final decision in the planning process, but the Mayor of London will have a period to endorse or rebound the plans.
Rather than move site, the Blues will expand Stamford Bridge over the course of a three-year programme that will see the team temporarily uprooted to a new stadium – with England’s Wembley the preferred location.
Buildings within the grounds of Stamford Bridge would be demolished to allow the expansion of the ground, while Chelsea have also proposed decking platforms over the District Line and Southern Mainline, which run close by the ground. Additionally, they will construct a club shop, museum and restaurant and café facilities.
Planners have recommended the proposals as they will allow the club to remain an iconic brand based within the Hammersmith and Fulham borough. Indeed, with dedicated tickets set to go to local residents, it is believed that the new ground would allow a younger generation of supporters to enjoy the team, whose average season ticket holder is aged 55.
Chelsea had previously looked at moving to Earl’s Court or Battersea Power Station, though both options were rejected. “Both were ruled out on policy grounds as the inclusion of a football ground was found not to be consistent with housing regeneration objectives identified for those areas,” planning documents state.
It is expected that any redevelopment will cost around €570 million and could be completed by the 2021-22 season, with the Blues hoping to secure the use of another stadium for the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign.
Chelsea have already begun discussions over a temporary new home as they expected to win the council vote today and the new stadium will be around 18,400 seats bigger – increasing from the current capacity of 41,629.
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