Campaign 55 Statement on CFC Bid to Buy Battersea
Statement from Campaign 55 on Announcement from Chelsea Football Club to bid to Acquire the Battersea Power Station Site
These are exciting times for Chelsea FC football fans all over the world. With the FA Cup and Champions League final looming the announcement from Chelsea FC to bid for the Battersea Power Station site with a view of developing a 60,000 seat stadium has added even more debate to all things Blue.
Campaign55 cautiously welcomes this announcement on its face value to the extent the Club have showed their hand at what is one, of two or three sites that could possibly accommodate a new 60,000 and which is within a 3 mile radius target they had set themselves.
However Campaign55 would like Chelsea FC to publish designs for both Stamford Bridge (SB) and Battersea Power Station (BPS) site to show what a 55,000 capacity stadium would look like against a move to BPS and 60,000 seats. Campaign55 would also like to understand the financial viability of developing the BPS site to accommodate a new stadium plus carry out extensive refurbishment of the Grade II listed buildings of which some estimates require bidders to reserve £100 million as well as contribute £200 million to the Northern line extension. These two items alone surpass the estimated costs of redeveloping Stamford Bridge to 55,000, which at £272 million was ruled out as financially unviable by Chelsea FC.
Campaign55 urges Chelsea Football Club to set aside space in the Chelsea Museum to show case design and costs for both redevelopment of SB and BPS sites so that fans from all walks of life and see what they would have to give up to move to proposed new Stadium. In the debate that has ensued, not one single design blue print has been released by the Chelsea FC, unlike the approach taken by Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspurs FC and others. Chelsea fans deserve more respect than the Club is showing and they should publish designs and costs for both options.
If the CFC Board deem it viable to bid for such an asset as BPS, Campiagn55 would like Chelsea FC to publish an outline business plan on how much expenditure is involved and just how such a project is to be financed and what will be the financial gain for Chelsea Football Club long term? The biggest stake holder in all of this is CPO and it will be interesting to see how the Club will deal with this issue this time around having received a bloody nose by SNCPO who successfully orchestrated a “No vote” to defeat the Clubs proposed buy back of CPO shares and thus the freehold interest of Stamford Bridge.
No one should get carried away by this announcement the development costs will be substantial – that site has been undeveloped for decades for a good reason. Campaign55 wants to ensure the long term viability and success of Chelsea Football club – the only way we see to ring fence the club against the business plan not working is to ensure the Club is immune to commercial activities that will surround this significant development and that CPO needs to retain an interest in any new stadium site. If the business plan fails and Chelsea are faced with massive financing costs and debt without CPO in place – we would have come full circle and the prospects of another eviction fight with property developers will ensue. This has the potential to become Chelsea’s very own 3-mile Island!
Lets see what the CFC have to say over the coming weeks and how they engage with key stakeholders including both fans and CPO shareholders and whether they are successful in their bid for the BPS site.