9:56am Wednesday 19th February 2014
By Clare Buchanan
Brentford Football Club is one step closer to securing its future after Boris Johnson gave plans for a 20,000 capacity stadium the green light.
London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning, Sir Edward Lister, announced the mayor’s backing of Hounslow Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the new stadium yesterday.
He said: “I am content for the borough of Hounslow to determine this case themselves as the regenerative, economic and social benefits of the scheme to the local community outweigh any drawbacks.
“Brentford Football Club is an important part of the West London landscape and this scheme will provide them with a much needed new home that will also become a fantastic facility for the local community; alongside significant benefits including the construction of nearly 1,000 new homes and improvements to public transport.”
The proposals were approved by the council's planning committee in December but due to the nature of the development, needed approval from the mayor's office.
An objection by English Heritage means the club now just needs the approval of Eric Pickles before work can begin on the stadium at the brownfield site in Lionel Road South, near Kew Bridge.
Chairman of Brentford FC Cliff Crown welcomed the news and said he looked forward to building relationships with local residents and businesses to improve the area.
He said: “We firmly believe this is a once in a generation chance to create a vibrant new stadium that will add to the buzz that is going on around Brentford.
“By working together we believe we can make the most of the new opportunities for the benefit of everyone.
“We are aware the secretary of state can still call this matter in and review it. We sincerely hope he will feel confident in the extensive work done by Hounslow and the GLA and decide he has no need to do this.”
The development includes plans for residential blocks, which could include three tower blocks of up to 17 storeys and 910 flats, a hotel and retail units.
Objectors raised concerns over the tower blocks which they said would encroach on views from Kew Bridge and Kew Green conservation areas and also raised fears about the viability of the football club.
The Kew Society’s planning trustee Martin Taylor said:“The Kew Society is seriously concerned by the implications for heritage assets and obviously we still await Eric Pickles's decision.
“Nevertheless the Kew Society will be encouraging the London borough of Richmond and Transport for London going forward to reduce the impacts on residents of the considerable parking, traffic and emissions problems that have been identified in the scheme with which the mayor is allowing Hounslow to proceed, problems that will be exacerbated by the other large developments in Brentford.
“We will also be reviewing the individual detail tower block applications that must follow the outline consent if granted.”
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.
If it goes ahead the stadium is set to be completed by 2016, while the residential development will be finished by 2023.
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.
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.
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