Brentford stadium plans approved by Hounslow Council

Wandsworth Guardian: Approved: Brian Burgess, left, and Cliff Crown, second from right, with representatives from Brentford FC Approved: Brian Burgess, left, and Cliff Crown, second from right, with representatives from Brentford FC

Brentford Football Club is one step closer to securing its future after plans for a 20,000-capacity stadium were approved by Hounslow Council.

The proposals for a stadium and residential block with room for retail space and a hotel now have to go through Boris Johnson and Eric Pickles before work starts.

Co director of Lionel Road Developments Brian Burgess said: “This is a big step forward – I have been working on this project for 11 years and it just would not have been possible without the support we have received.

“We are relieved we have got this far on the very long road of this application.

“There is still a chance the secretary of state could call it in but we will do whatever is asked of us.”

Eric Pickles must see the plans due to an objection from English Heritage, while Boris Johnson’s eye in needed because the project is of strategic importance.

Planners submitted a full proposal for the stadium in Lionel Road, near Kew Bridge, and outline plans for the residential blocks, which could include three tower blocks of up to 17 storeys and 910 flats.

Sale of outline planning permission for the residential complex to an external developer will provide the funds to pay for the stadium, which in total will cost £71m.

The stadium is set to be completed by 2016, while the residential development will be finished by 2023.

The club is currently losing £5m per year at its current ground, Griffin Park, which is tightly surrounded by homes, making it unsuitable for major improvements.

The club’s chairman Cliff Crown said: “The support we have received from many sections of the local community and our fans throughout this process has endorsed our belief in the need for this change.”

More than 500 people attended the planning committee in Hounslow on Thursday, December 5, with a further 3,769 who watched the four-and-a-half-hour meeting online.

Brentford fans came out in full force and erupted in cheers and applause when the decision was made.

Councillor Steve Curran, a Hounslow councillor who stepped down from the planning committee before the meeting, was pleased to see the scheme approved.

Coun Curran said: “It was also good to see so many people – both for and against the proposals – at the meeting.

“The presentations they made, and the answers they gave to questions, showed that we have a lot of people who care deeply about the future of the borough.”

Councillors were enthused about the development of the Lionel Road, which is currently a brownfield site, and said the stadium would put Brentford on the map.

Objectors raised concerns over the tower blocks which they said would encroach on views from Kew Bridge and Kew Green conservation areas.

There were also fears about the viability of the football club.

Robert Colvill, of Strand on the Green Residents’ Association who spoke at the meeting, said: “On its normal merits, this planning application would have been refused.

“Throughout the report time and time again planning officers say this is a problem, that is a problem.

“But they say it can all be put to one side because Brentford need a new football stadium.

“Brentford need to make sure they get enough people through the door to make up the money. It is one hell of a gamble.”

Kew Bridge station will see changes including better access for the disabled and re-opening of the tunnel from the London platform.

The stadium will provide a home for the Brentford Community Sports Trust together with education facilities, and facilities for the community, including a climbing wall.

What do you think? Will the stadium benefit the area? Leave a comment below.

 

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