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Chelsea submit bid for Battersea Power Station site to construct 60,000 seater stadium

  • @simonrice

Chelsea have submitted a bid to acquire the Battersea Power Station site for the construction of a 60,000 seater stadium, the club announced today.

In a bold move by the west London club in their ongoing bid to increase stadium revenues, a statement on the Chelsea FC website revealed that an offer has been made, in partnership with property development partner Almacantar, to acquire the 39-acre site in Wandsworth on the south bank of the Thames.

The statement reveals that Chelsea will retain many of the significant features of the Grade II listed power station, providing what is described as "a unique architectural backdrop to a world-class stadium".

Specifically on the stadium front, which has a planned capacity of "around 60,000", initial plans include a 15,000-all seated one-tier stand behind the south goal and will be rectangular in shape with four separate stands.

This weekend's FA Cup finalists have been investigating avenues to increase stadium revenue for sometime. The expansion of Stamford Bridge, their current 42,000 capacity home, was looked at but it was deemed unworkable, while building a new stadium on the site was fraught with problems.

A new site appears the only viable alternative, although today's statement stresses that the Battersea Power Station announcement does not mean the club has made a definitive decision to leave their current home.

Any move away from Stamford Bridge, their home since 1905, will need the support of the Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO), a fan-led group who own the freehold to the land beneath their current stadium. A move to reacquire that freehold failed in October, when the CPO shareholders voted against selling it back to the Roman Abramovich owned club at an extraordinary general meeting.

Today's statement acknowledges that these issues, and many others must be overcome before today's plans come to realisation.

"We are not the only interested parties and there is no certainty that we will be successful. We also appreciate that we have many significant hurdles to address if we are to build a new stadium on the site, including winning the support of our fans, the CPO shareholders and local Wandsworth residents, as well as securing the approval of Wandsworth Council, the Greater London Authority and heritage authorities," read the statement.

The plans for the proposed construction are highly detailed.

"Working with architects and planning experts, we have developed a plan to preserve all the significant aspects of Battersea Power Station.

"The four iconic chimneys and wash towers along with the Grade II listed west turbine hall and control room will be restored and retained in their original locations," the statement read.

The power station has been disused for three decades and a series of regeneration projects have come to grief. It is currently in the hands of administrators Ernst & Young.

With regards to the stadium itself, it would appear the wishes of fans have been taken into account.

"Following feedback from fans, our initial plans include a 15,000 all-seated one-tier stand behind the south goal, likely to be the biggest one-tier stand in football.

"Also as suggested by many fans, the stadium proposed is rectangular in shape with four separate stands. The design includes a bigger family area and more room for disabled supporters," it reads.

Chelsea also reveal that as well as the construction of a new stadium on the site, there would be other elements to the development.

"The development would include a town centre with substantial street-level retail shops, affordable housing and offices - all of which would benefit Wandsworth and bring a significant number of permanent jobs to the area. We would also make a significant contribution towards the Northern Line Extension, a new high-volume transport link proposed for the area."