This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 19/01/2018.
Crystal Palace promise to buy new homes for families who will lose theirs if Selhurst Park expansion goes ahead
The Premier League Football Club want to revamp Selhurst Park into a 34,000-seater stadium.
Crystal Palace have pledged to buy “suitable” new homes for the families who would see where they live bulldozed if the major redevelopment of Selhurst Park is approved.
It has been revealed that the Premier League football club’s £75 million to £100 million plans to redevelop Selhurst Park into a 34,000-seater stadium will require a number of nearby homes to be knocked down.
Croydon Council’s planning committee is meeting next Thursday (January 25) to discuss the proposals detailed in a pre-planning application to create a new five-storey Main Stand .
The application report reveals that “some of the houses” towards the “north end” of Wooderson Close would have to be demolished if the stadium is expanded and parking spaces will be lost in both the club’s and Sainsbury’s’ car parks.
A Crystal Palace spokesman said: “Crystal Palace Football Club is working closely with Croydon Council on its plans to redevelop Selhurst Park and a planning application is being submitted this month.
“Five homes in Wooderson Close will be affected, four of which are council-owned and occupied by tenants, who have been advised by the council that they will need to be re-located if planning permission is granted.
“The club has undertaken to fund the acquisition of suitable properties and to meet the associated costs.
“The club has contacted the owner of a privately-owned, tenanted property which will lose part of its front garden.
“The club’s plans for Selhurst Park are subject to full consultation and all local residents have being invited to public meetings to view the plans”.
Where the loss of housing is concerned, as part of the London Plan, it states this “should be resisted unless the housing is replaced at existing or higher densities with at least equivalent floorspace”.
The application report states: “At this stage, the club are still exploring ways in which the design of the extended stadium can be altered to minimise the loss of housing and impacts on residents.
“It is, however, clear that some housing would need to be displaced in order to accommodate the expanded stadium.
“The applicant has indicated a willingness to work with the council to consult with affected occupiers, to identify their housing needs to ensure the occupants are rehoused in accommodation which is appropriate in terms of tenure, size, location and quality.”
The centrepiece of the planned redevelopment is a new five-storey stand featuring an all-glass front – a homage to the club’s earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace, erected on Sydenham Hill.
This will increase the number of seats in the Main Stand by 8,000.
The project is being designed by KSS, the architect firm behind the redevelopment of iconic sporting venues including Anfield, Twickenham and Wimbledon.
Plans will be submitted to Croydon Council in January and, subject to planning permission being granted, work will begin in the next 12 months.
If the redevelopment is approved the existing Main Stand will remain in full operational use throughout the build, a Palace spokeswoman said, in a bid to minimise the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons.
Palace have also previously said the project is expected to take three years to complete.
Key features of the redevelopment include:
- capacity in the new stand will increase from around 5,400 to 13,500, with more than 10,700 general admission seats – an increase of around 6,000 on existing numbers.
- improved facilities for supporters with disabilities and a substantial increase in wheelchair spaces, making Selhurst Park compliant with accessible stadia guidelines.
- a bigger pitch, increased from 101.5m x 68m, to 105m x 68m, making Selhurst Park compliant with UEFA regulations and eligible to host tournament football.
- premium hospitality and entertainment facilities for more than 2,500 supporters, including a new Tunnel Club, and between 16-28 boxes, which will give members a unique vantage point as the players prepare for the match and conduct post-match interviews.
- a new museum, documenting the club’s rich history and its place in the south London community.
- new community facilities, supplementing the work of the Palace for Life Foundation, which delivers health, education and sporting programmes for more than 13,500 local children and young adults.
- improved sightlines in the Arthur Wait Stand with the removal of the TV gantry.
- an improved Arthur Wait Concourse.
- the redevelopment of the upper Whitehorse Lane boxes into mixed bar/box use.
The club are staging a public exhibition where members of the local community, and all interested parties, can view the plans and meet members of the project team who are bringing forward the proposals.
The events are being held in Speroni’s at Selhurst Park on Saturday (January 20), from 10am to 2pm. Access is via the main reception and all are welcome to attend.
At the planning committee meeting on January 25, members will be asked to consider the impact of the loss of housing, how the larger crowds would get to and from the ground, matchday road closures, safety and security, the design and appearance of the stand, and how people in the wider vicinity will be affected.
Croydon Council was contacted but a spokesman said the local authority would not be commenting at this pre-planning application stage.