Chelsea have no immediate plans to try again to buy back the Stamford Bridge freehold from their supporters, despite the club's announcement yesterday that they have commissioned developers to study a potential move to Battersea Power Station.
In a significant development in Chelsea's fraught attempts to explore a future away from Stamford Bridge, the club have announced that they are working with a firm of developers and architects to look at the feasibility of moving to the famous Battersea site (right).
They have pushed on with these plans despite failing last month to secure the crucial 75 per cent majority vote from Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), who own the freehold to Stamford Bridge. The club's plans to buy back the freehold ended when the campaign among CPO shareholders to vote "No" to selling up saw off the proposal with 38 per cent of the vote. Since then the CPO board, widely criticised by the "No" campaign, has been overhauled with a new chairman, Steve Frankham, installed.
It is understood that the Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, is not considering making a fresh offer to the estimated 12,000-plus CPO shareholders ahead of the company's January AGM. However, there remains a determination at the club, shared by owner Roman Abramovich, to explore all the possibilities of finding a bigger site locally that would give Chelsea a potential 60,000-capacity stadium.
Chelsea announced yesterday that they have appointed Mike Hussey, chief executive of Almacantar, as their development partner as well as Kohn Pedersen Fox architects to work on plans for a 55,000-60,000-capacity arena – Stamford Bridge holds 41,837 – on the south-east area of the Grade II listed site.
A Chelsea spokes-man said: "In the past, we've talked to various people with interests in Battersea Power Station [BPS] but we haven't had any substantive discussions with anyone regarding that site for several months.
"However, in light of current developments, we now think it prudent to look again at the feasibility and potential for the BPS site to be developed for a football stadium. We have made no decision to leave Stamford Bridge, and we continue to discuss with the local council any economically viable options to expand the Bridge, but we will continue to investigate various options close to Stamford Bridge."