Supporters of Brentford FC who are keen to see bulldozers roll onto the site where their new stadium will stand will have to wait a little longer despite final planning permission being approved this week.
On Monday Hounslow Council and Brentford FC officially put pens to paper on the Section 106 Planning Agreement which was all that stood in the way of the 20,000 seater stadium being built in Lionel Road South.
This documents the various contributions the directors of the development company behind the project will have to make to areas such as education, health and housing.
As you would expect the numbers are many and vast and include around £2million for education, as well as £175,000 for buses, £118,390 for carbon offsetting, £210,000 towards Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and potentially up to £87,000 for affordable housing as there is none planned to be provided within the development itself.
There is even a stipulation that following the eventual completion of the new stadium the club will allow either a GP surgery or similar NHS facility to occupy part of the site for a period of four years and also to host no less than four exhibitions and 12 events per year with a public health theme.
A large chunk of the cost of the £71 million project is being underwritten by the club’s owner Matthew Benham which also recently confirmed its preferred development partner for the new stadium is Willmott Dixon.
Showing commendable pragmatism the new documents refuse permission for the demolition of the Bees current Griffin Park home until the new one is completed for the reason ‘to ensure there is a Football Stadium for Brentford Football Club in the Borough’.
Getwestlondon has sifted through the reams of information which includes binding rules against using any part of the new site for everything from places of worship to skating rinks and cinemas.
Under one section listed as Stadium Uses the council states clearly: ‘the stadium bowl (i.e the pitch and spectator terraced seats) shall not be used for events for the purpose of i) the playing of competitive professional rugby and ii) a standalone musical performance utilising the pitch.
Residents and supporters of the club will remember in the early meetings with the developers how a partnership with rugby clubs including Broncos (who actually shared with Brentford at Griffin Park back in 2002) and London Welsh was floated as a potential way to maximise ground use and help cover costs.
Many also believed music events such as rock concerts or festivals could be allowed during week day or weekend evenings when the pitch wasn’t being used for football.
The club comments…
Project director Brian Burgess explained the wording was simply a planning requirement and insisted options for both rugby and live music remain on the table.
He said: “The reason we decided to focus purely on football as sole use for the new stadium at this stage was if we added rugby to the mix we would then have to include things like travel plans and estimated numbers attending etc.
“Since we haven’t yet even agreed which club we want to partner up with, it is simply too early to have that information to hand.
“Making the best possible use of the new stadium remains a key objective and we are still very keen to negotiate with rugby clubs and other potential partners.
“Once we know more we will then be able to make a new planning application specifically to add things like this to the stadium use.
“Since the 106 document was signed we have been sitting down each day with Willmott Dixon to go through everything and agree which of us will pay for which bits of the scheme.
“It took longer to get to this point than we anticipated so we are a few months behind schedule.
“My best guess, and it is only a guess, is that we will be ready to start the preparation work on the Lionel Road site early in the new year.”
The agreement means the council’s planning department were finally able to rubber stamp the official permission paperwork which gives the club three years to start building work following its application back in May last year.
It also follows a long drawn out process in which first the council’s planning committee got a say in December 2013, followed by the Mayor of London in February and the Secretary of State for Communities in March.
Further restrictions include the prohibition of any major events (football included) outside the hours of 9am and 11pm and builders will not be allowed to work outside of the 8am-6pm Monday-Friday and 9am-1pm Saturday time limit.
As has been reported previously, the scheme also includes a 160 bedroom hotel, a pedestrian bridge, underpass access to Kew Bridge Station and 910 flats arranged in blocks around the triangular site.
Designs and materials for all these extra elements must be submitted and cleared by the planning authority before any stage of construction can take place.
Speaking after the signing of the deal the new leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran said: ‘This agreement seals a great deal for The Bees, Brentford and the whole borough. It’s another sign that Hounslow is fast becoming a place of real opportunity in London.
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