Fulham Football Club was granted planning permission for the redevelopment of its riverside stand on 20 March. It raises Craven Cottage’s seating capacity by 4,300 to achieve an overall stadium capacity of 30,000 seats. It also provides for nine new apartments, new leisure and retail facilities and a new public section of the river walkway.
The Fulham Society objected to key aspects of the Club’s previous scheme, which nevertheless was granted approval in 2013. This new proposal contains some of the same very undesirable features, notably the encroachment over the river and the height of the stand. Sadly, building in the river to create the riverside walkway was accepted by LBHF and the GLA as “delivering benefits that outweigh the policy conflict relating to river encroachment”.
The Society considers it essential that more is done to address the legitimate concerns of local residents about the adverse impacts of the present proposals especially in relation to the impacts on the parks beside the club and on residents in the evening.
It was also given permission to hold the associated non- match day events (200 non-match day events, with 10 permitted of up to 5000 attendees) that had caused local residents considerable concern. The Club consider they are creating a community hub through the provision of restaurants, bars, cafes and event space for residents and visitors to the area to enjoy. The Council accepted that the Club was entitled to make best use of its site so that it remained in the borough.
The good news is that the river walk will only be closed on match days 2 hours before & 2 hours after the event. Several mitigating measures include parking controls on days of larger, non-match day events to be the same as on match days; the club is to be responsible for cleaning; and noise management conditions will apply (i.e. to prevent live music events).
The impact of the club on Bishop’s Park will be reviewed after 10 years (end of S106 planned contribution) with a view to extending a financial contribution to mitigate the club’s ongoing impact on Park. Bishops Park will retain its normal opening hours so any visitors on non-match day events will need to exit the Club via the Stevenage Road entrances or via the river walk at the Hammersmith end.
The application still needs the approval of the GLA/Mayor of London and the Marine Management Organisation, and River Works licence from the Port of London Authority. Assuming these go through, work on the stadium is expected to start in summer 2019.