Capacity of Bees’ previous scheme has been cut by over 10% to make it more affordable
Buckingham is set to begin work early next year on a new stadium for Championship side Brentford after west London councillors approved revised plans which will actually see the capacity of the ground come down from the consented original.
The club is hoping that the firm behind the MK Dons stadium and an upgrade to Brighton & Hove Albion’s ground over the summer – to make sure the newly promoted side’s stadium was up to Premier League standards – will be able to start work next February.
The £70m scheme was given the green light by Hounslow council last night – more than three years after it first approved a larger stadium back in summer in 2014.
Under those plans, the capacity of the new home of the Bees was set to be 20,000 but the revised plans have seen this chopped to 17,250.
A club spokesperson said that because the stadium had been moved 3m south from its original location, capacity has had to be reduced to make sure it fitted in to the plot of land that has already been given planning.
Making it compliant with Premier League standards has also cut some of the capacity down, the spokesperson added.
The previous stadium was set to be built next to a railway line but the spokesperson said moving it to a new site in the same area has cut up to four months off the build time as Buckingham will be able to work on both sides of the rectangle-shaped ground at the same time.
She added: “We carried out a very detailed review of the plans to make them much more robust, fundable and deliverable.”
Work is expected to finish in autumn 2019 but the club said it wouldn’t be able to move out of its current Griffin Park home, where it has been since 1904 and which has a capacity of 12,700, until that December at the earliest.
The new site, which has recently been used as a waste transfer depot, is owned by the council but will be leased to a company owned by the club’s owner Matthew Benham, who made his fortune from online sports betting. A lifelong fan, Benham has pumped more than £90m into the club since he was asked to get involved after plans for the stadium stalled following the 2008 financial crisis.
The stadium has been designed by Manchester architect AFL whose portfolio of work includes Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium and Edgbaston cricket ground.
Brentford is also looking at the possibility of a ground share with Premiership rugby union side London Irish who currently play their games at Reading’s Madjeski Stadium.
The club’s partner in the entire development is Willmott Dixon’s Be Living residential arm which is behind 910 homes at the same site and will be built in phases with the first including close to 500 homes.