Chelsea submit application to turn Stamford Bridge into 60,000 stadium
Chelsea's planning application for a new 60,000-seat ground, on the site of Stamford Bridge, has revealed the full scale of what will be the country's most ambitious stadium build yet.
On Tuesday, 160 documents were published featuring images of the Blues' planned new home, with work on the £600million-plus, three-year project expected to be signed off in the summer.
Provided they get the necessary backing in the now-launched consultation period, Chelsea could begin life at a revamped Stamford Bridge on the first day of the 2020-2021 season.
The Barclays Premier League champions have consulted over the redevelopment of their west London home
Chelsea will have to move out of Stamford Bridge for three years while work is undertaken on their ground
Chelsea could begin life in their new home on the first day of the 2020-2021 season should they receive the necessary backing
Roman Abramovich's design team, spearheaded by Herzog & de Meuron – most famous for their work on Bayern Munich's incredible Allianz Arena and the beautiful Beijing Bird's Nest – have produced a new 60,000-capacity ground that draws Westminster Abbey among its influences.
As revealed by Sportsmail's Charles Sale earlier this week, the stands will have the same names so fans can stay in their favoured place. This is because at two public exhibitions to showcase the plans, which drew a 93 per cent approval rate, the most common question fans asked stadium planners was where their seat would be.
Methods of keeping the neighbours onside will also be explored with apprentice schemes to learn building skills during construction and ensuring minimum disruption by employing Keltbray, the firm who are painstakingly bringing down Earls Court Exhibition Centre brick by brick.
And there is further good news for supporters, with one of Stamford Bridge’s defining features – the stands’ close proximity to the pitch – being maintained.
The Chelsea fans’ closeness to the action is seen as the top redeeming aspect of the atmosphere at SW6, and the new ground sees seats placed as little as 7.2metres from the players.
The South Terrace and Britannia Entrance of today (top) compared to images of how Stamford Bridge may look by 2020
The redevelopment will see the current ground demolished, along with the surrounding hotels, restaurants and health centre
The planning application was submitted by Abramovich's Fordstam company on November 19, Hammersmith and Fulham council said.
Two images of how Stamford Bridge could look with a yellow outline showing the current shape of Chelsea's stadium
HOW THE REVAMP ROLLS OUT
October 2016-October 2017 (Phase One)
Construction of rafting over the railway lines behind the East Stand and Matthew Harding Stand begins.
Both Stamford Bridge hotels, a range of bars and restaurants and the Stamford Bridge Health Club are demolished.
Chelsea play their last game at Stamford Bridge as it stands, leaving for three years to facilitate the rebuild.
June 2017-September 2018 (Phase Two)
The old Stamford Bridge is demolished. Digging down to accommodate the height of the new stadium begins.
July 2018-October 2019 (Phase Three)
Stadium is constructed from scratch
December 2018-July 2020 (Phase Four)
Fitting out of the surrounding area is completed, with a restaurant/café included on-site along with a new club shop and museum.
Chelsea return to play at a 60,000-capacity Stamford Bridge for the first time.
As seen in the images from the application, the main construction feature on the new ground will be the 264 brick columns that surround it, with glass connecting each one to provide the structure of the roof and walls of the stadium.
Decorative metal will run across the glass to provide the silvery-effect seen in some images, providing a cathedral-colosseum look to the new ground.
The number of hospitality seats available will almost double from 4,628 to 8,969 with those paying top dollar occupying the East and West sides of the middle tier, and the East side of the upper tier.
Away fans will continue to be seated in the Shed End but with their following being split across the three tiers similar to the system at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.
A statement on the club's official website confirmed plans had be submitted to Hammersmith and Fulham council, and consultation is now open until January 8 next year.
'A planning application for a new stadium at Stamford Bridge with an expanded seating capacity has been submitted,' Chelsea’s statement read.
'This follows a successful consultation process during which we received very helpful feedback.
'This application will now be examined by the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.'
Provided permission is given, work will start at the end of this season with the building of expanded access from the current stadium's rear to Fulham Broadway station through the building of slats over the railway lines behind the East Stand and Matthew Harding Stand.
Chelsea would then be forced to vacate their home for a full demolition of the site in 2017, playing away from the ground that has hosted them for 110 years for a three-year period.
During construction, Chelsea will consider having a resident hawk scout across the Stamford Bridge site on a daily basis to prevent 'nuisance birds' from taking up residence as the stadium is rebuilt.
Workers will dig down to reduce the height of the stadium, which will appear vastly bigger than the current structure but will, in fact, not be taller than now.
Wembley Stadium is Chelsea’s expected temporary destination with talks already at an advanced stage, although Tottenham Hotspur also have eyes on the National Stadium.
A mooted move to Rugby HQ at Twickenham would struggle to get off the ground with residents’ concerns and Chelsea are confident that they are close to signing off a deal at the stadium they last visited for this season’s Community Shield.
After three years at Wembley, Chelsea will then move back at the turn of the new decade with existing season-ticket holders to be offered identical seats to their current ones, but in a ground built almost entirely from scratch.
Blue supporters will be allowed to keep their old seat positions from Stamford Bridge if they wish
The stadium redevelopment is being entirely financed by Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich
Sportsmail revealed earlier this year that the Barclays Premier League champions would need to take Wembley at a reduced capacity, with a loophole allowing them to house 50,000 spectators on a regular basis.
Wembley is limited to 37 'major' events each year but occasions that do not utilise the 40,000-capacity top tier of the ground are not considered ‘major’. With appropriate planning, the Blues could even open up the upper tier for games with enough demand for tickets.
Back at Stamford Bridge, the redevelopment will see the surrounding hotels, restaurants and health centre knocked down before work on demolition and then construction of the new stadium begins.
A club shop and museum will be rebuilt, alongside a new area touted as a ‘restaurant/cafe’ that could be utilised as a bar for supporters on matchdays.
Those wishing to comment on the application have until Friday January 8, 2016, to submit their observations to Hammersmith and Fulham Council. Feedback on consultation so far has been positive and it looks unlikely that Chelsea will find many roadblocks to their plans.
Abramovich's design team, spearheaded by Herzog & de Meuron – most famous for their work on Bayern Munich's incredible Allianz Arena
Premier League rivals Chelsea and Tottenham both want to use Wembley while their own stadiums are being redeveloped
NEW CHELSEA STADIUM DESIGN COMPARED TO A SLINKY, A TOILET AND AN EGG SLICER ON TWITTER
Chelsea's new stadium designs provoked some interesting reactions from fans across the internet on Tuesday afternoon.
Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the best reactions on Twitter - including comparisons with a colander and suggestions the stadium should be renamed 'The Drain'.