Brentford FC, together with its development partner Be, are to submit amendments to the approved plans for the development of their new stadium.
The club has shown the amendments to Hounslow Council ahead of submitting them in September 2017. They say these will be the final changes which, subject to approval by the council, will mean construction of the new stadium will start early in 2018 with the aim of completion by late 2019 or early 2020.
The club say that since the original planning permission was granted in June 2014, significant changes have taken place both within the development marketplace and in relation to Premier League football and Premiership rugby union requirements. As a result, the Club and Be have undertaken a detailed review, to ensure the stadium is Premier League compliant upon completion; to enhance the urban and residential design; and to reduce the risks from the stadium construction process and its future operation.
The result is a stadium that is smaller in capacity (down from 20,000 seats to 17,250) and which will be sited three metres south of its original location. This will allow the incorporation of a road at the northern perimeter to improve access through the site and ease the construction constraints imposed by a site bounded on all sides by railway lines.
In addition, Be say they are taking this opportunity to revise the residential development to create “a better and more integrated sense of place, with increased permeability”. The stadium and the enabling residential development will remain within the planning envelope approved in 2014 and there is no increase in either the height or the overall number of homes within the residential development.
The club say these amendments will not impact on the overall quality of the stadium. They say recent successful seasons in the Championship have only served to harden the resolve of the owner, Matthew Benham, and the management team of the Football Club to continue its pursuit of Premier League status.
This is shown by a key amendment which involves the inclusion of Premier League compliant Outside Broadcast facilities. Similarly, the new stadium will benefit from premium lounges with the capability of welcoming up to 3,000 guests. There is also provision for some safe standing, when legislation allows for this.
The facilities for the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust will not now be within the stadium itself. Instead, it’s proposed that the Trust’s offices, Learning Zone and Hounslow’s Interim Education Centre will be housed in the ground and first floor of the Central Eastern residential block, immediately next to the stadium, giving them dedicated facilities which can be used 365 days a year, something that was not possible if they had been located in the stadium.
The proposed amendments to the residential development are focussed around the first phase. A new square aims to provide a proper main entrance to the stadium, while the addition of non-residential uses around the square aims to make it somewhere people will want to come on non-match days. The look of the buildings has been altered to make them much more in keeping with the existing architecture in the local area and the apartment buildings themselves have been re-planned to better suit market needs. Of the 910 homes consented for the scheme, 487 will be delivered in the first phase with residents able to both rent and buy.
Cliff Crown, Chairman of Brentford FC said: “I would like to thank the fans of Brentford FC for their support and patience during this last stage of detailed planning. I know that some fans may be concerned that the capacity of the stadium will be reduced but it is critical that this project is as financially robust and deliverable as possible. I am delighted that we are continuing to prepare for life in the Premier League with enhanced media, Outside Broadcast and lighting facilities to make the stadium fully compliant from day one, with provision for safe standing as soon as legislation allows.”
Matthew Townend, Managing Director at Be Living Ltd said: “We have had a very productive six months, working closely with the club. These proposed amendments will improve the fans’ experience as they approach and leave the stadium, enhance the amenity for future residents and, we believe, create a greater sense of place not just on match days, but all year round for everyone coming to the development.”