UK approves Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge plans

Chelsea suspends new stadium plans due to unfavourable investment climate
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Chelsea Football Club has been given permission by the mayor of London to build a new £500m 60,000-seat stadium.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council approved the plans in January to demolish the current 41,600-capacity Stamford Bridge stadium.

The mayor has the final say on major planning applications in London.

Earlier, Sadiq Khan said the “high quality and spectacular design” would add to the capital’s “fantastic array of sporting arenas”.

He continued: “Having taken a balanced view of the application, I’m satisfied this is a high-quality and spectacular design which will significantly increase capacity within the existing site, as well as ensuring fans can have easy access from nearby transport connections.

“I’m confident this new stadium will be a jewel in London’s sporting crown and will attract visitors and football fans from around the world.”

The plans include an elevated walkway from Fulham Broadway station, plus a £12m investment from the club in community activities, such as employment and skills training, as well as a contribution of £3.75m towards affordable housing in the borough.

Chelsea FC said it was “delighted” with the decision.

“Following a review by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, we are delighted he has chosen to support the council’s decision.”

Trizia Fiorellino, chair of the Chelsea Supporters Group, said: “It’s obviously fantastic news for us. Spurs have got a new stadium, West Ham have got a new one, we were in danger of being left behind – but this is great news for Chelsea fans.”

The new stadium has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron, who were also responsible for the “Birds Nest” Olympic stadium in Beijing.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has long wanted to increase match-day capacity.

In 2011, the club lost a vote to buy the freehold of Stamford Bridge from Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) – a group owned largely by supporters to ensure the ground cannot be sold for development without its agreement.

Mr Abramovich was then thwarted in 2012 in his attempt to redevelop Battersea Power Station for a new stadium, losing out to property developers now building luxury apartments on the site.

The BBC understands Chelsea is in negotiations with the FA to play fixtures at Wembley Stadium while the development work is being carried out.