Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Chelsea study stadium expansion

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has commissioned a study to explore the possibility of expanding the club's Stamford Bridge home

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has commissioned a study to explore the possibility of expanding the club's Stamford Bridge home and improve access to the stadium on matchdays.

The Blues on Tuesday night announced plans to consult local stakeholders, including community and residents' groups, about existing conditions in the vicinity of the ground which has been their home since their launch in 1905.

In the era of Financial Fair Play - something Chelsea are bidding to comply with - it is in the club's interest to enhance matchday revenue.

Stamford Bridge's current capacity is 41,837 and the Blues have previously explored the possibility of moving to nearby Battersea power station and Earls Court, options which are no longer there.

It was stressed the consultation is the beginning of a "preliminary process".

A Chelsea spokesman said: "The owner has commissioned a study into the area surrounding Stamford Bridge.

"As the correspondence that has gone out to local stakeholders makes clear, this consultation is just the start of a preliminary process to collect opinions on the existing conditions in the area."

A message to supporters on the club's official website announced the study, which could result in "landscaped public walkways and cycleways" over the railway lines near the site to reduce pedestrian traffic on nearby streets on matchdays.

The message added: "The study will also assess the feasibility of an expansion of the stadium within the existing historic site boundaries, potentially to enlarge its capacity, enhance its facilities and improve the movement of people and vehicles on match and non-matchdays.

"The consultation will not concern itself with any design or details of a redevelopment on the stadium site. Instead it will ask about the surrounding publicly-owned areas and in particular the civic infrastructure necessary to ensure a successful and feasible redevelopment."

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