Chelsea have confirmed they have submitted an offer to buy the 39-acre Battersea Power Station site for the construction of a new stadium.
Chelsea risk wrath of fans in move to relocate away from Bridge
Chelsea have confirmed they have submitted an offer to buy the 39-acre Battersea Power Station site for the construction of a 60,000-seater stadium.
The bid has been made with the club's property development partner, Almacantar, and could risk an angry backlash from fans who have already expressed concerns about moving away from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea in 2011 attempted to buy back the land on which Stamford Bridge is built from Chelsea Pitch Owners Plc (CPO), but there was opposition to this strategy.
A clear move has now been made for a new stadium from Chelsea, who want a bigger home in order to capitalise on match-day revenue, and Battersea has been targeted as a site.
Ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool, the Blues announced they were hoping to acquire the 39 acres of land they could redevelop if they decide to relocate from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea's plans include preserving all the significant aspects of the power station itself and developing local transport links, such as helping to extend the Underground's Northern Line, but they are not the only interested party in the site.
A statement on the club's official website
on Friday read: "Chelsea football club can confirm to our fans that we have today submitted an offer, with our property development partner Almacantar, to acquire the 39-acre Battersea Power Station site.
"Battersea Power Station is one of London's most famous buildings and has the potential to become one of the most iconic football stadiums in the world.
"Our joint bid was submitted in accordance with the sales process established by the Joint Administrators for the site. The process could run for a number of months.
"We are not the only interested parties and there is no certainty that we will be successful. We also appreciate that we have many significant hurdles to address if we are to build a new stadium on the site, including winning the support of our fans, the CPO shareholders and local Wandsworth residents, as well as securing the approval of Wandsworth Council, the Greater London Authority and heritage authorities.
"We must also stress that making an offer for the Battersea Power Station site does not mean the club has made a definitive decision to leave Stamford Bridge.
"Working with architects and planning experts we have developed a plan to preserve all the significant aspects of Battersea Power Station. The four iconic chimneys and wash towers along with the Grade II* listed west turbine hall and control room will be restored and retained in their original locations and provide a unique architectural backdrop to a world-class stadium with a capacity of around 60,000 seats.
"Following feedback from fans, our initial plans include a 15,000-all seated one-tier stand behind the south goal, likely to be the biggest one-tier stand in football. Also as suggested by many fans, the stadium proposed is rectangular in shape with four separate stands. The design includes a bigger family area and more room for disabled supporters.
"As well as a new home for our club, the development would include a town centre with substantial street-level retail shops, affordable housing and offices - all of which would benefit Wandsworth and bring a significant number of permanent jobs to the area. We would also make a significant contribution towards the Northern Line Extension, a new high-volume transport link proposed for the area.
"We will keep our fans updated as the process develops."
Wandsworth Council are keeping their cards close to their chest regarding the possibility of the site being sold to a football club.
Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on individual bidders but any new owner will need to work within the existing planning framework for Nine Elms, which includes the delivery of the Northern Line Extension.
"This is the key to creating 25,000 new jobs and unlocking billions in growth and new inward investment."
CPO shareholders have accused Chelsea of failing to fully explore the prospect of revamping Stamford Bridge, while Hammersmith and Fulham Council have disputed their claims that doing so would be far more expensive that moving.
Deputy leader Nick Botterill said today: "We want the Blues to stay at Stamford Bridge and - if it can be done sensibly without negatively affecting local people - increase the ground's capacity so they can retain their position as one of Europe's top clubs.
"CFC is a thriving business which contributes significant benefits to the area and we will continue to work closely with the club to explore all possible avenues for keeping them here at their original home."