There was a real buzz in the Hive on Monday when the Brentford fans who attend enjoyed a more detailed presentation and discussion about the design of the stadium that is being planned for Lionel Road.
The well attended forum was open by the current BIAS chair Richard Merritt who welcomed the attendees and handed over the reins to: Brian Burgess Director Lionel Road Developments Ltd ) who lead a presentation aided by Chris Gammon also of Lionel Road Developments Ltd and John Roberts of AFL Architects to discuss the plans and respond to any queries that Brentford fans will had.
Brian explained that for a number of reasons Griffin Park is no longer a suitable or a viable location for Brentford FC as the club cannot generate the revenue that is required and as a result the football club has purchased the Freehold to the land in between the railway lines at Lionel Road.
The Brentford FC board were given a full day presentation on Tuesday 29th January and they gave the go ahead for the Lionel Road Developments Ltd to prepare a Full planning application which will be submitted during the month of May 2013 with the hope that planning consent will be received during the Autumn of this year.
Due to the tight timescales, tonight would probably be the last chance for supporters to give their input into the scheme
Our current ground is valued in the Brentford FC accounts as being worth £10m however it is anticipated that it will make sufficiently more than this.
The football club already has outline planning consent for a residential development on our ground and a couple of options were shown on the display boards located around the Hive. The idea is that Griffin Park will be sold to a property developer who will apply for their own full planning consent for the site (although they will not be able to build until we are in a new stadium)
Brian relayed that the tight timescales are achievable and that the 2016 completion target coincides with Brentford needing to go all seater should we achieve promotion this year and sustain the Championship/Premiership football.
The Stadium design
Brian relayed that the current plans are still pretty fluid and are subject to change
The initial plans are for a continuous lower bowl around the pitch with an upper tier on the main stand (the South Stand) and upper tiers behind both goals.
The current capacities (which are moving around a bit as the design evolves) are as follows:
North stand: 3,890 (Similar in size to the Bill Axeby Stand)
East lower: 2,450
East upper: 2,233
South lower: 5,535
Box level: 220
South upper: 1,050
West lower: 2,445
West upper: 2,286
The football club have decided that away fans should be situated in the North east corner of the stadium which is being designed for accommodating various numbers of away fans, starting with a block for 500 in the lower tier, 500 in the upper tier and a further 2000 spaces if required with the North Stand.
The away fans are being located here so that they have less influence on the game and the location of the visiting supporters here also assist with the exiting of fans from the stadium.
The single tiered North stand covers a concourse and the back of the stand is only one metre from the railway line.
The home end, which is often being referred to as being the new Royal Oak will be at West of the stadium
As requested by BIAS, consideration has been given to the implementation of safe standing in the future. The site lines and the views of seated fans makes it a lot easier to place areas for safe standing behind the goals
Although the stadium design is being future proofed to incorporate safe standing, it will require a further amendment to the current law before Brentford fans can enjoy the facility.
It was envisaged that the upper tier of the South stand would contain Premium Seating, padded seats with armrests.
Although it was stated that planning consent will be sort for a twenty thousand capacity regardless it was mentioned that the Football club could if they desired choose either not to be build the East and West upper tiers straight away as there would be access for construction traffic should this need to be done at a later date. It was also mentioned that the club could build and not open these upper tiers behind the goals presumably saving on operating costs and the furnishing expenditure.
On or more positive note, the audience was told that there was the potential for the stadium capacity to increase to 25,000 and possibly more by extending the North stand over the railway line.
The football pitch which will have under soil heating will be big enough for the stadium to hold FIFA and UEFA matches.
The playing surface would also allow for Rugby matches to be played within the stadium taking into account the longer run offs that are required behind the posts.
It was also stated that the plans for the new ground would have allowed the 2015 Rugby World Cup matches to be played at the venue.
It is hoped that we will share the stadium with a rugby club and stadium has been designed around this.
Confirmation was given that as reported in the press, conversations have been held with several Rugby clubs. Most of the Rugby Clubs spoken would prefer shared ownership of the new ground, however Brentford FC would also consider tenancy arranagments.
The possibility of sharing with another football club was raised by an audience member and it was relayed that the accommodating the number of games that two football teams play could be problematic and that Rugby teams played a lot less games which made the situation less problematic.
Facilities. The Main South Stand was a four story structure.
The ground floor consisted of the club shop with external access and a bar which could be accessed from inside the stadium on match-days and externally at other times. The centre of the stand contained the player’s entrance, changing rooms, press room and a goods inwards area.
The first floor could potentially be used for the Rugby Club offices
The internal concourse in this stand will be large than the others stands and similar to Stamford Bridge it could be used to host exhibitions.
The second floor was being designed for dual usage, housing the BFCCST, Learning Zone and Media Room during the week and as additional hospitality areas on match days.
The Third floor is being designed for hospitality and will contain about 12 boxes and a permanent TV studio with the TV gantry being located at the top of the South Stand.
The first floors of the East and West stands were earmarked to be ‘fitted out/ furnished in the future’ with the area with the west stand possibly being used as part of an adjoining hotel.
There would be no match day car parking for able bodied supporters at the ground. Car parking for disabled is being looked into. It was suggested by an audience member that customer parking for the club shop would be advantageous and this will be looked into.
Park and Rides schemes utilises the car parks along the A4 were being looked into.
The actual stadiums cost will be funded from the sale for griffin park to a housing developer and three corner plots at Lionel Road.
The meeting discussed the enabling developments which included the possibility of a 12 story, 140 room hotel being added to the West stand at a later date.
In order to a maximise profits each of the plots could be given to a different developer.
The club has also identified two other sites adjacent to Lionel Road which it is negotiating to either purchase or to develop in partnership.
Proposed access to the East of the site is via a new footbridge across the railway tracks into Capital Interchange way.
There is also a tunnel from the stadium site to the London bound platform of Kew Bridge station which the club would like to re-open
Transport links to the ground is being looked into as are plans to improve the local transport infrastructure. It was envisaged that Kew Bridge line will soon be running trains of ten carriages.
The attendees were asked to go on line and to complete the BIAS survey which ALL Brentford fans are being were encouraged to complete.
The meeting closed with a round of applause which was just short of a standing ovation.