By “K” of the Bluegrass Blues
Chelsea’s much-needed plans for a revamp of Stamford Bridge seems set to go ahead, having just been given the approval of the Mayor of London. Pending a few more hurdles and the mountains of paperwork to complete its passage from one inbox to the next, it all looks set to go forward and become the new reality for Chelsea fans, instead of merely a pipe dream. The final plan is composed of more than 210 documents.
The complete revamp of Stamford Bridge exterior is probably the most obvious – and debated – change on the agenda. The design sees Chelsea developed from the Big House-esque exterior matching the scenery of the surrounding neighborhood to a behemoth that somehow resembles a bizarre combination of an air filter and the Santiago Bernabéu. It’s definitely a modern upgrade to the exterior, taking Chelsea forward into this century, and a drastic departure from the current model. This new exterior seems to be the final nail in signaling a new era at the Club that began with Roman Abramovich’s takeover in 2003. The sheer size of the stadium is a massive increase, collapsing what was formerly several separate structures into one conducive building while still keeping the integrity of the placement of the stadium within the neighborhood and not having to deal with the logistics of a move to a new site.
The other obvious update rests on the inside. The increase in seating space will take Chelsea’s new stadium from its current meager 41,600 seats to 60,000, a much needed increase. This will lend to about 13,000 extra general admissions tickets and about 9,000 extra hospitality seating tickets. The museum and club shop will also find new homes within the interior. The Chelsea hotels on the property, as well as the apartments located on the property, will be nixed from the grounds completely, and set to be moved elsewhere in the area.
One of the largest concerns from the CPO meeting in January from residents in the area, as well as noted by Dan Levene in his write-up back in December of 2015, is a rather ill-thought plan for noise control, given the expected increase in noise produced by the stadium. This largely matters, as Dan Levene noted, for the wellbeing of persons in the area, such as soldiers with PTSD that could be adversely impacted by the noise produced from the stadium, and businesses in the area that could face decreased foot traffic because of the noise from the stadium on match days.
Conservation issues were a surprisingly hot topic of renovation of the area, given the increase in territory the actual structure covers, as clearly shown in artistic renderings of the property. Perhaps most fascinating to those of us with a bizarre interest in such matters is Chelsea’s plan for waste management. Particularly fascinating is the plan for the management of the wastewater and London’s famously rainy weather. Given the increase in seating, it logically follows that an increased headcount will lead to increased waste, in all forms, and that some plan for handling the increase produced on the property in an eco-friendly and sustainable way must be in place.
It also somehow made the floor of the CPO meeting back in January, leading to my current favorite Chelsea-related tweet this year: “Sustainable drainage, you’ll never sing that!”
They also have multiple plans for the trees and any subsequent animal populations that could be harmed because of the remodel, just in case you were worried.
Regardless, it seems like the stage is set Chelsea will make a temporary move to Wembley for three seasons (2018 – 2021, just as Spurs remove themselves from the property) while the renovation takes place. When they return home in 2021, the building that greets the Chelsea faithful will scarcely be recognizable, but it will still be our Chelsea playing there.
Cheers to Dan Levene for the summary, upon which a large portion of the information surrounding this redevelopment was taken.