Mayor of London Boris Johnson may stop Chelsea move to Battersea Power Station

14:37 06 May 2012

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

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

Chelsea’s hopes of building a new stadium at Battersea Power Station may face opposition not only from the football club’s own fans but also from re-elected Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

English Heritage reaction

Chelsea would need permission from English Heritage to revamp Battersea Power Station.

An English Heritage spokesperson said: “It will be our role to look at and advise on the impact of any proposals that come forward.

“Full planning permission and listed building consent were granted in 2005 for a mixed-use scheme promoted by Parkview.

“Permission and consent were again granted in 2011 for a different mixed use scheme promoted by Treasury Holdings.

“English Heritage provided consent for both conversion schemes, alongside Wandsworth BC and the Mayor or London.

“The power station is listed at grade two star in recognition of it powerful scale, celebrated silhouette, and that, as a power station it was the first to rationalise large-scale distribution of power - the ‘Cathedral of Power’ provided a fifth of London’s electricity.

“The building is a masterpiece of industrial design. It is one of London’s most prominent landmarks and one of a few with a genuine claim to the title ‘iconic’.”

The Blues this week confirmed the submission of a bid to build a 60,000-seater stadium on the 39-acre site in Wandsworth.

The ground would take between three and four years to construct, and would include the power station’s four chimneys and other aspects of the existing structure as part of the design.

Chelsea are one of a number of parties interested in the power station site, which was valued at £500 million in October and was put up for sale two months later.

Even if the club is successful in acquiring the site it will need to overcome many obstacles before moving there becomes a reality.

The Mayor is one of the people Chelsea will need to convince to allow them to redevelop the Grade II* listed site but Mr Johnson’s chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning, Sir Edward Lister, has said: “I don’t think the site is suitable for Chelsea, and nor do a lot of people. It’s not a goer.”

Sir Edward claimed the transport infrastructure was not “geared up” for 60,000 football fans, despite the Blues offering to make a “significant contribution” towards the £900 million cost of a proposed extension to the Northern line of the Tube.

Additionally, the club cannot move anywhere before convincing fan-led group Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell the freehold to Stamford Bridge.

SayNoCPO, the group of CPO shareholders which spearheaded opposition to Chelsea’s bid six months ago, said: “The viability of redeveloping Stamford Bridge is still a very relevant issue, with Hammersmith and Fulham Council openly contradicting the club’s negative projections.”

The club maintains it has yet to decide whether to relocate but also insists it is not economically viable to redevelop Stamford Bridge.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council deputy leader Nick Botterill disputes this, and said: “We want the Blues to stay at Stamford Bridge and - if it can be done sensibly without negatively affecting local people - increase the ground’s capacity so they can retain their position as one of Europe’s top clubs.

“CFC is a thriving business which contributes significant benefits to the area and we will continue to work closely with the club to explore all possible avenues for keeping them here at their original home.”

It is understood Wandsworth Council has no objection in principle to a football club bidding for Battersea Power Station.

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