Thursday, 24 November 2011

Chelsea Explore Battersea Bridge

Chelsea are exploring the possibility of building a new 55-60,000-seater stadium at Battersea Power Station.

The club has made no decision to leave Stamford Bridge and still need to buy back the freehold of the famous ground before they can move anywhere.

But they have appointed a London developer and architecture firm to draw up plans for the relocation.

They are acting to make sure they do not miss out on the site should they choose to move from Stamford Bridge.

A Chelsea spokesman said: "In the past, we've talked to various people with interests in Battersea Power Station, but we haven't had any substantive discussions with anyone regarding that site for several months.

"However, in light of current developments, we now think it prudent to look again at the feasibility and potential for the BPS site to be developed for a football stadium.

"We have made no decision to leave Stamford Bridge, and we continue to discuss with the local council any economically viable options to expand the the Bridge, but we will continue to investigate various options close to Stamford Bridge."

The Blues have appointed Mike Hussey, chief executive of Almacantar, as their development partner and have hired architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to draw up plans.

But they cannot move anywhere unless they sell the land at Stamford Bridge and are trying to come up with a plan to persuade Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell them the freehold after the supporter-led company rejected last month's offer.

The club is still hoping to persuade the owners of Earls Court to give them permission to build there but the prospects look slim.

There could also be complications with the Battersea Power Station site whose owners have been trying for a year to find an equity investor to fund a proposed £5.5bn redevelopment.