Chelsea’s long search for a new and improved stadium took a step towards completion today when they submitted a planning application for a new 60,000 seater stadium to their local council.
Back in 2012 Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, rejected the idea of redeveloping Stamford Bridge and declared the notion to be ‘not feasible or viable’. Originally it was thought that the defending Premier League champions would look to move elsewhere in London, with a plan submitted to build a state-of-the-art stadium in Battersea Power Station.
That plan was rejected, however, and the Blues have struggled to find a different location for their new stadium. The need to improve on their currently capacity of roughly 42,000 is seen as paramount, with Chelsea losing out to their rivals Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City every week as far as gate takings are concerned. Old Trafford holds 76,000, The Emirates 60,000 and The Etihad can fit in 55,000 fans. Even Liverpool are in the process of expanding their stadium, with the new Main Stand likely to increase their capacity to 54,000.
The Blues have been at Stamford Bridge since 1905, with the last redevelopment of the stadium coming in the 1990s. Their new application suggests that they are intending to demolish the current stadium in order to build a new 60,000 seat alternative. There will be excavation works done for the new ground, as well as new outdoor areas that will include the building of platforms over the District Line and Southern mainline that run near the stadium.
The club have said on their website that the new and improved stadium will offer improved facilities ‘for every area’, as well as ‘outstanding views’ from every seat in the hope that it will create an ‘exciting atmosphere’.
The application has been submitted to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, with the local council announcing that the deadline for comments on the club’s application has been set for Friday the 8th of January 2016.