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Herzog & de Meuron’s Chelsea stadium put on ice

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Chelsea Football Club has put its long-mooted plans for a new Herzog & de Meuron-designed stadium on indefinite hold

In a statement released today, the AJ’s sister title Construction News reported, the London club said: ‘No further preconstruction design and planning work will occur.

‘The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision. The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.’

The announcement comes after Chelsea’s owner, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, experienced difficulties renewing his UK visa.

Plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron were unveiled in July 2015, with a price tag of £500 million. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan approved the club’s plans in March last year, calling the stadium a ’jewel in London’s sporting crown’.

The ground would have been enclosed by 264 brick piers, rising up and over spectators to support a circular steel ring connected to radial steel roof trusses 50m above the bowl.

The club has been pursuing plans for a new stadium so it could expand on the current 42,000 capacity of Stamford Bridge. 

Herzog & de Meuron's designs for Chelsea FC

Herzog & de Meuron’s designs for Chelsea FC

It had considered moving to a different area of London, with one proposal floated in 2012 by KPF being to build a new stadium in Battersea Power Station.

However, rules set down by Chelsea Pitch Owners, which owns the freehold to Stamford Bridge and the club’s name, stipulated that if the club moved it would have to stop calling itself Chelsea FC.

In January this year Hammersmith and Fulham Council stepped and passed a motion allowing it to use its compulsory purchase powers when the owners of two neighbouring properties launched a High Court injunction to stop the development.

The owners had claimed the planned stadium scheme should be altered to prevent it from blocking their light. But the local authority said that was not a realistic option and instead said it was going to buy the rights to land over part of the ground and the railway line that separates the stadium from the homes. 

Chelsea had agreed preliminary deals with around 60 per cent of 50 properties it has identified as being affected by rights of light issue. It says it had expected to agree terms with all but the two properties involved in the injunction. 

It is not the first time a new football stadium in the UK designed by Herzog & de Meuron has failed to get off the ground.

In Portsmouth Football Club mothballed plans to build a 45,000-seat arena on the Horsea Island site near Port Solent drwn up by the Swiss-based practice, blaming  the credit crunch and access issues for its decision.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    Doesn't sound as thought it will ever get built.
    Another article elsewhere said they would have to be away from the ground for 4 years -hope that was a typo. Surely the first thing any designer of a football stadium would try and do was make something buildable in under 14 months (a season plus two summer breaks)?

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