West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society (WCGS) and Brentford Independent Association of Supporters (BIAS) met at the Griffin Pub on 6th November to explore common ground in relation to the proposed stadium scheme at Lionel Road. It was expected that the Club’s application for detailed planning permission for the new stadium and outline permission for the enabling residential developments at Lionel Road South would be presented to Hounslow Council’s Planning Committee in the next few weeks.
WCGS emphasised that they were not against a stadium at Lionel Road but they were totally opposed to the scale and nature of the residential development that the Club claimed would be necessary to build it. Stating that in their opinion, the views provided in the Club’s application demonstrated the serious harm that would be done to the local residential communities and to the surrounding environment. They explained that, in reality, it was likely that the impact would be even worse as, in their experience, Design Codes offered no guarantees. Marie Rabouhans, Chair of WCGS said “Our wish is for the Club to find a way to provide a truly community stadium. We want an outcome that is good for all of us who love this area, fans, residents and visitors.”
BIAS explained that while they supported the move of the stadium whole-heartedly and accepted the Club’s position that the enabling development was necessary for the project’s financial viability, they recognised the fears and concerns surrounding the enabling development and undertook to feed back the WCGS concerns about the design codes possibly not being adhered to by the developers. BIAS also proposed to work with the WCGS and other local community groups to lobby the relevant authorities for improvements to infrastructure and services which may be needed if the Lionel Road development goes ahead.
Richard Merritt, Chair of BIAS, said “It was great to have a meeting with residents who, if permission is granted, will be our neighbours. It is hoped that this will be the first of many meetings with those who want to engage in constructive conversation and work together to resolve any problems that arise. Like residents, fans, some of whom live in Chiswick and Gunnersbury, want to keep any problems to a minimum and promptly deal with any that come up. BIAS can bring the power of numbers of Brentford supporters to help lobby appropriate bodies for improved access to local public transport amongst other issues and to guide match attendees as to suitable car and pedestrian routes to the stadium to minimise complaints.”
Both sides agreed that, should planning permission be granted, this might be the first of many constructive meetings that could evolve into the group of interested parties that would design the Local Area Management Plan (LAMP), a formal plan that would be required to minimise disruption on match days.
Meanwhile, the WCGS delegation accepted BIAS invitation to be their guests at a forthcoming football match at Griffin Park and offered to arrange a visit to the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick.