QPR mulls move to TV Centre as BBC plots sale to developer

Auntie's redevelopment could house 35,000 capacity stadium – plus offices, shops and homes
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The Independent Online

North-west London football club Queens Park Rangers is drawing up plans to move to a new, purpose-built, larger stadium on the BBC's Television Centre site in West London.

The QPR board is discussing various options for the future of the club, which is currently based nearby in Loftus Road, and is planning a move within three to five years.

The plans are at an early stage but QPR has held informal discussions with its local council, Hammersmith and Fulham, which supports a move within the borough to the BBC site.

The move would be just half a mile and will not prove controversial with fans, unlike other potential football relocations such as West Ham's possible switch from Upton Park to the Olympic stadium after 2012.

Both the ambition and financial ability of QPR to plan a new stadium is clear. It has been topping the Championship table; Neil Warnock's team remain the only side in the Championship not to have lost a game this season. If the club was promoted to the Premiership this year, its desire for a new stadium could step up a gear.

The club is part-owned by the billionaire Mittal family and racing driver entrepreneurs Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. Briatore and Ecclestone are widely reported to be selling their stakes; Vijay Mallya, the United Breweries tycoon and Kingfisher beer owner, has been in the frame, but a deal has not yet materialised.

Loftus Road, which has been QPR's home for more than 90 years, holds 18,000 fans, and a new stadium would be planned with a 35,000 capacity.

The 15-acre TV Centre site was put up for sale by the BBC through property agent Lambert Smith Hampton last week. The BBC is structuring the sale as a joint venture. A developer would be selected to build a scheme that could include up to a million square feet of offices, shops and leisure. As a joint venture partner, the BBC would get a share in any future profits.

The council, which has already drawn up a long-term masterplan for the area, said: "It is hoped that the BBC building and the wider area will attract new media and arts companies – forming a new cultural quarter called Creative London. In addition, thousands of new homes will be built."