Mixed reaction to Chelsea plans for Battersea Power Station
8:00am Thursday 10th May 2012 in Your Say
Last week's announcement that Chelsea could build a new stadium on the Battersea Power Station site has provoked a mixed reaction from residents and fans alike.
The club revealed plans on their website last Friday for a 60,000-seater arena on the 39-acre site, which has been put on the market for the first time.
Chelsea, owned by Russian billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, said the site has the potential to become "one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world".
But many residents have been left cold by the proposals which they say will cause traffic mayhem both during and after construction of the venue.
Roger Markham, a Battersea Park Road resident, said: "I'm not sure exactly how long it would take to build but surely it would make everyone's commute a misery for years.
"Then once it is built, 60,000 supporters will need to be shipped in and out possibly as much as once a week.
"I am a Chelsea fan but I'm not sure about exporting the club outside of its own area. Should they still be called Chelsea? Or should they change their name to Battersea?"
Other residents said they felt the site could be used for a different type of venue, such as an art gallery or a museum, and are dreading having a football club on their doorstep.
Paul Radford, of Vicarage Crescent, Battersea, said: "I don't like football and I don't like the plans to turn an iconic listed building into a football stadium.
"The Tate Modern was a power station but it became a world-renowned art gallery, and we get Chelsea FC.
"Chelsea fans have a reputation for being pretty vile and they will be traipsing back through Battersea at unearthly hours.
"I'm sure the news will disappoint many residents."
But lifelong Chelsea fan and season ticket holder Ed Smallman said the prospect of a "world-class" stadium would excite Blues fans.
He said: "It is no secret that Chelsea need a new stadium.
"If we are to actually appear as aspirational as the board likes to sound then we need action starting with a stadium that is befitting both of our status and more importantly is on a par with our rivals.
"This is important both in terms of the positioning that having a world-class stadium brings and in terms of the revenue potential a new and bigger stadium brings.
"I, like all Chelsea fans, am very happy with the news of a stadium move. We all love the Bridge but we all know it’s holding us back.
"Battersea Power Station is an exciting location and works geographically."
Another season ticket holder, James Blackburn, said he had reservations about the move.
He said: "I don't like the idea of moving away from our natural fan base, particularly south of the River Thames.
"I know many people will argue that most fans don't live in Chelsea these days but to move the actual club out of the area could be a mistake.
"Having said that, if there is absolutely no alternative nearby to Stamford Bridge, then we may have to bite the bullet and move to Wandsworth."
If successful, the club has pledged to retain the unique backdrop of the power station, retaining the chimneys and wash towers and restoring the Grade 11* listed turbine hall and control room.
It also promised to make a massive investment in shops, homes and offices, as well as helping fund the Northern Line extension from Kennington - something Wandsworth Council said it would be looking for from whoever becomes the successful bidder.
According to Property Week magazine, the contenders include the Malaysian conglomerate SP-Setia, which had been lined up as a partner for former owner Treasury Holdings, whose £5 billion scheme to redevelop the site collapsed last year.
The magazine also named London & Regional, the property company owned by London’s Livingstone brothers; house builder Berkeley; the Wellcome Trust charity; Olympic village developers Delancey, and Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa.
Ernst & Young which, along with Knight Frank, is managing the sale of the site, refused to reveal how many bids had been submitted or what criteria would be used to select the winner.
Administrator Alan Bloom said: "We are encouraged by the strong level of interest shown in the sales process to date and the level of the bids received last week."