LONDON: Queens Park Rangers intend to move into a new 40,000-capacity stadium as part of an ambitious project to be constructed at Old Oak in west London.
Chairman Tony Fernandes has said the move is essential because there is “no option of expanding” their present home at Loftus Road.
The new stadium is set to be built as part of a “major regeneration” of the former railway junction at Old Oak Common, with plans for the creation of a residential and commercial precinct larger than Canary Wharf.
While there is likely to be some fan backlash over leaving Loftus Road – a ground QPR first used in 1917 – Fernandes believes the project would cement the club’s place in west London.
QPR chief executive officer Philip Beard also said that the club’s fans would be consulted over any move.
Fernandes, in a statement, said: “Loftus Road is – and always will be – a special place for the club and our supporters, but we need more than an 18,000 capacity.
“With no option of expanding here, we have to look elsewhere and we welcome the (London) Mayor’s and Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s commitment to regenerate the area, which includes an option to develop a new stadium at Old Oak as a key catalyst to bring forward redevelopment, cementing our future in this part of west London.
“Not only will this give us a top-quality stadium to cater for QPR’s needs as the club progresses and grows over the years ahead, but we are very excited about being the driving force behind creating one of the best new urban places in the world.
“This will be the catalyst for the regeneration of a forgotten area – ultimately bringing new transport, 24,000 homes and at least 50,000 jobs.
“It will create a vibrant new destination in London, boosting local businesses, attracting new visitors and tourism and creating a thriving community.”
Thursday night’s announcement came after QPR and their partners, Stadium Capital Developments, concluded a letter of collaboration with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham to “bring forward an early and very significant private sector investment into the Old Oak Common regeneration area”.
London Mayor Boris Johnson recently announced that turning Old Oak into a new world-class city quarter was one of his main regeneration priorities.
Beard said: “We look forward to working with the Mayor and local authorities and we will, of course, be consulting our loyal and passionate supporters, as well as the local community, on our exciting plans early next year.
“We will look to build a stadium QPR fans and local residents can be proud of. Loftus Road is renowned for its atmosphere and with the help of our supporters, replicating that at our new stadium will be one of our top priorities.”
Antony Spencer, who is developing the masterplan for the Old Oak site, said it was hoped planning permission would be secured early in 2015 and that work would begin on the project soon after.
Spencer also revealed “world-class architects” were being consulted for the project – which is reportedly set to cost £10bn to “design iconic tall buildings akin to New York, the Far East and London’s finest, as well as improving and incorporating the waterside environment of the Grand Union Canal”.
He added: “We know we still have a long way to go in dealing with the planning, infrastructure funding challenges and business relocations but we are now in a position to forge ahead as we have secured strategic land holdings in excess of 100 acres.
“We are confident of securing a planning permission by early 2015 and starting development shortly afterwards.”