Monday 7 May 2012

CPO statement on meeting with LBHF

The CPO board have relased a statement giving further details of their meeting with LBHF. It is comedy gold.


As explained to us during the meeting with them on 23 April, LBHF stated that they take a different view on certain issues put forward in the CFC statement.

We bet they do.

LBHF disagree with Chelsea FC that it is not viable to redevelop the stadium at Stamford Bridge.

Yep, we know.

They believe that an additional 13,000 seats could be added to the Stamford Bridge capacity, although they recognise that this would be achieved 'with difficulty.'

OK, so how will the seats be added, what sort of a dogs dinner might it be and what precisely are these "difficulties"? Are they different from the ones you say Chelsea are exaggerating?

The council would find a 55,000 capacity at Stamford Bridge acceptable.

Although they find 42k unacceptable on CL nights?  Is this really a serious statement? What exactly backs this up? How on earth can they say that pre-planning? The club has to abide by legal rules and regulations...and so do the council. The club have shown where a development would fall foul of these.

LBHF do not believe there would be many issues regarding local residents' 'right of light' from a development of that size.

We think the residents would have something to say about that.

In order to provide extra egresses to clear that capacity from the area, LBHF believed that just one end of terrace property would need to be compulsory purchased and removed. They questioned whether CFC had inquired as to a possible purchase of Oswald Stoll Buildings, next to Stamford Bridge.

WHAT?!!! Are the council suggesting the club should try to purchase those flats (unopposed?) and turf out old soldiers living there? Did they SERIOUSLY suggest that to the club?! We wonder how the Oswold Stoll residents are going to feel about that.

They rejected the view that several listed and other buildings would need to be acquired and demolished, and they would not find it acceptable for CFC to compulsory purchase and remove adjacent buildings on the north side of Fulham Road.

OK then. Thanks for that bit of help then.

LBHF notes they were aware of discussions some time ago between CFC and Transport for London (TfL) regarding a possible new £3.5m 'raft' built over the Underground line to the north-west of the stadium, on which outside broadcast trucks could be parked (these trucks currently reduce the stadium capacity on Champions League match nights). They believe CFC did not pursue this with LBHF or TfL.

Not entirely sure what the point is? So the club HAVE been trying to explore ways to keep CL capacity higher? Without help from LBHF.

Before LBHF could fully examine the viability of any redevelopment Chelsea FC would need to submit a planning application. They stated CFC have not submitted any planning applications of that nature in recent years.

Yes, we know because you have made it clear what you will and won't accept. The club have never claimed to have put in applications.

LBHF pledged to form a dedicated council team to assist the planning process once any stadium redevelopment application had been made.

As they would any large development. Very good of them. This team, however is not there to make life easier for the applicant but to manage the application in the way the council wants.

LBHF have not carried out any feasibility study of the Stamford Bridge site of their own.

Hey ho! But you know precisely how CFC should proceed, have made statements about what properties will and won't have to be demolished (except Oswold Stoll which you merrily invite the club to purchase for goodness knows how much).

Until the end of last year they had had several meetings with CFC and felt the ball was still in CFC's court.

Laughable. They said up to the EGM that the club had NOT been having meetings with them. Do they think we are all entirely stupid?

LBHF have filmed and monitored crowd control at recent sold out matches and found that with a full house and the existing capacity Fulham Road cleared in half an hour after the final whistle.


LBHF suggested that CFC had not looked fully at the revenue that can be extracted from each seat with the existing stadium capacity of around 41,800.

For example, the club might consider not allowing new season ticket buyers when existing holders do not renew. This would allow the club to sell more tickets on a match-by-match basis at a higher price.

Aha! So the club should bar ST holders and charge even more money to fans? Great. Just great. So that is the answer to CFC's financial future according to the council.

LBHF also questioned how much CFC would generate from any sale of the Stamford Bridge side, citing the fact that 40% of any new development housing must be allocated for affordable social housing.

Well that is an interesting point. On many levels. First, it suggests the club are not profiteering. Second, why would they not want loads of houses there whilst we went, say to Earl's Court? Bit of a "threat" too.

According to LBHF's figures, Fulham FC brings £15m into the borough per annum; their estimate was that CFC generates £30m for local business. However, the councillors said they receive two or three letters each week from local residents complaining about CFC's presence.

So we are valuable to the borough. Being half a mile away at Earl's Court would keep us in the borough?

LBHF urged CPO to challenge CFC's findings by engaging experts in the fields of planning, transport, health and safety.

So it is CPO's responsibility to do all this is it? Despite the club already having done it? Are CPO wealthy enough to carry out such work on behalf of the council and the club?

LBHF felt that there was no chance of CFC being allowed to move to Earl's Court. There were no plans to put a stadium within that development, and in their view such a move would not be countenanced by the secretary of state.

And so we get to the nub. Firstly, no planning officer is in a position to say what a secretary of state will decide. At all. A deeply disingenuous and petulant statement. Further, it is highly likely that a secretary of state would veto a destructive development at SB which threw people out of their homes. Utterly risible.

It was always the Board's intention to make this information available at this time. We of course have noted last Friday (4 May) that Chelsea disclosed that they are one of the bidders for the land including and surrounding Battersea power station.

As a consequence, the club has agreed to meet with us within the next ten days to discuss their future plans. We will report back to shareholders following that meeting.

We hope this meeting brings further information about Battersea AND Earl's Court.

So, what does all this tell us? It tells us that the council have absolutely nothing to offer the process beyond keeping Chelsea as far away from Earl's Court and their 106 million quid as possible. They have no evidence, they have no solutions, they have proposed outrageous bullying by the club of local residents. No plans, no studies, no designs. Contradictions, hypocrisy and false promises..promises they are simply NOT permitted to make and which thus, Cheslea are utterly right to reject.

LBHF have no cogent argument for keeping CFC out of the Earl's Court development other than their avarice. As they themselves admit, SB would provide them with many many houses yet they don't want them. Designing and building a stadium as part of Earl's Court is infinitely better for all concerned, except LBHF who believe Chelsea should stay in a cramped, tiny, boxed in site. Well Chelsea have obviously decided that they wish to pursue an option that means the club will get a stadium and a business model that The CLUB wants, not what suits LBHF. Chelsea appear to have taken an enormous step towards becoming a property giant at BPS. We don't know the full details but talk is that the stadium there would be self-financing. 

Perhaps there is still life in Earl's Court too?  We shall see. Whatever happens, we expect we will know much more by later in this year. 

Meanwhile we should applaud the CPO board for this beautiful bit of mugging. LBHF will not be pleased, one suspects, to have been shown to have so vacuous an argument. Videoing the crowd on match days?

Heavens above.


  1. LBHF well and truly debunked!

  2. To be fair to CPO - they have stated that they were merely passing on what had taken place at the meeting

    Im assuming they know its complete nonsense what the council have come out with - as do most other people now

    The tide has turned and I think most fans now regard sayno as an obstacle for progress, especially now that the club have done what they wanted and bid for a site within that magical 3 mile radius - and what a site!