Brentford FC set to start building new stadium in March

Hounslow Council has given planning permission for the revised plans for Brentford FC’s new stadium. The long drawn out planning process originally saw detailed planning permission granted in June 2014 for the construction of the 20,000 seater Brentford Community Stadium along with outline permission for 910 new homes, a 160 bedroom hotel and other commercial space.

The process has gone on so long that market demands and conditions have changed since the initial proposal was submitted. Building costs have gone up, so the revised plans show a smaller stadium of 17,250 capacity with the east and west stands just a single tier and an increase in the number of premium seats from 1,800 to 2,930 so the club can make more money from fewer ticket sales.

The number of homes planned remains the same at 910 apartments, but there has been a shift to providing a greater proportion of small flats in Phase One. In the new plan 93 studio apartments have been added. The original plan was for 40% 1 bed, 40% 2 bed and 20% 3 bed, with no studio apartments at all. The new plan is for 19% studio, 30% 1 bed, 41% 2 bed and 10% 3 bed. The vast majority of these will be for rent rather than for sale.

There is currently no ‘affordable housing’ provided in the plan. It was not required by the Council, says Project Operations Manager Sally Stephens, because this is a ‘community’ development, but there is an ‘affordable housing trigger’ which kicks in after phases one and two have been built. If at that point the developers are deemed to be making too much money, the Council can require affordable housing to be included in the next phase.

Providing there is no formal objection to the Council’s decision to grant planning permission, which would force the process to a Judicial Review, Brentford FC hopes to start work on the new stadium mid March and have the development completed by late 2019.

Brentford FC play 26 home games between August and May, typically two Saturdays a month with occasional midweek matches on Tuesday nights. Permission to use the new stadium for rugby was granted in February 2017 and the Club hopes that now that their new plans have received planning permission, negotiations with London Irish Rugby Club will lead to a commercial deal between the two clubs in the next few weeks.

The rugby club typically has smaller crowds of around 10,000 spectators and plays 16 home matches in a season which starts slightly later than football, in September. Rugby matches are expected to take place on some Sundays and occasional Fridays as well as Saturdays when Brentford FC are playing away.

The stadium has only 60 car parking spaces, which will be available to VIPs and disabled people only, so the vast majority of fans are expected to arrive at the stadium by public transport.

The leader of London Borough of Hounslow Steve Curran is hopeful that the go ahead will be given for a train station at Lionel Rd now that the Great West Corridor has been recognised as an ‘opportunity area’ in the Greater London Plan. If this were to happen the earliest it could be achieved would be 2025 realistically speaking, as this is still at the ‘ideas’ stage rather than a ‘plan’.