LONDON: Chelsea have finally taken a decisive step in sorting out its long-term stadium plans by submitting a full application for the complete redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.
The Premier League champions’ application has been submitted to Chelsea’s local Hammersmith & Fulham Council, which has previously urged the football club to focus on developing Stamford Bridge, stating that it would be more expensive to develop a new stadium at another site.
The application comprises the demolition of the existing stadium, which has a capacity of 41,600 seats, and other buildings within the ground, and the construction of a new facility with a 60,000-seat capacity.
Other features include ancillary stadium-related uses including a club shop and museum, plus a separate restaurant/cafe use.
The new stadium involves both excavation works and the construction of new external concourse areas. This includes the formation of decking platforms over part of the London Underground’s District Line and part of the mainline railway.
The council has set a deadline of January 8 for comments on the proposal. Chelsea said the application has been entered following a “successful” consultation process during which the club received “very helpful” feedback.
Chelsea added in a statement: “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.”
The club has long been seeking ways of boosting matchday revenue in order to keep pace with its Premier League rivals. In June 2012, Chelsea’s proposal to build a new 60,000-seat stadium at the Battersea Power Station site on the south bank of London’s River Thames was rejected.
Chelsea revealed plans to increase its current Stamford Bridge home to a 60,000-seat capacity earlier this year. However, the project, which could cost approximately £500m could force the club to seek a temporary home for at least two years.
Wembley and Twickenham, home of the English national rugby union team, have previously been reported as possible temporary homes for Chelsea who have been ‘at home’ at Stamford Bridge since 1905.