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Fulham's £70 million stadium plans on the 'brink of collapse'

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Fulham Football Club has admitted the Miller Partnership's plans for a £70 million redevelopment of its Craven Cottage stadium may be shelved.

Fulham chairman Mohamed Al Fayed has warned that the club is increasingly frustrated at legal objections brought by local activist group the Fulham Alliance (AJ 15.8.02). Al Fayed admitted that if the objections do not end soon, the whole scheme could collapse.

And he said that the club's forward planners are already looking for alternative sites for a new stadium which, Al Fayed added, might be shared with another club.

Two months ago, Fulham was forced to put back the completion date for the new 30,000-capacity Craven Cottage from 2003 to 2004, due to two new challenges by local groups. The Fulham Alliance is appealing to the House of Lords regarding John Prescott's decision not to call in the scheme.And it is also taking the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to the High Court over its original decision not to block the development.

Locals object to the redeveloped ground, saying it will be damaging to the area. They also argue that the 22m-high structure will be completely out of place with its Thames towpath setting and other residential areas.

According to one Fulham insider, the scheme's situation is already very perilous. 'The longer this legal wrangling goes on, the more likely we are to drop the project. It is already balancing on a knifeedge, ' he said.

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