Strategic Rail Authority set to sell off brownfield land that mayor had earmarked for a stadium scheme
The Strategic Rail Authority is set to defy the wishes of London mayor Ken Livingstone over a key regeneration site in Brentford, south-west London.
Livingstone wrote to the rail authority last November to support a bid by Brentford FC to develop a stadium and mixed-use scheme on an SRA site in Lionel Road. But the rail authority now seems likely to sell the site to a warehouse developer.
Architect Ryder HKS, which designed the stadium for the football club, says it has been trying for more than a year to meet the rail authority to discuss its plans, which include an 18,000-seater stadium, a transport interchanges and retail and residential buildings.
Despite the mayor’s insistence that the matter be given “urgent consideration”, the SRA has not met the club and says it is committed to the warehouse scheme.
An SRA spokesperson said the body was waiting to conclude a sale with developer Chancerygate and had received no offer from the club.
The spokesperson said: “We are always happy to talk to prospective purchasers, but we have still not
had an indication of commercial interest [from Brentford FC]. We are committed to a sale to Chancerygate but still waiting to conclude it.”
It is thought that a decision about the site was delayed by the Department of Transport’s announcement in July that the SRA would be abolished next May and work would be transferred to the British Rail Board.
We'd be very happy to take an option on the land
Simon Dunstan, Ryder HKS
Simon Dunstan, senior architect at Ryder HKS, said: “We’d be very happy to take an option on the land. We don’t understand why the BRB is not coming to the table.”
The mayor’s letter, which has been seen by Building, was sent to Richard Bowker, the SRA’s chief executive, on 10 November last year. It asked him to support the stadium bid.
The letter said: “I consider that the Brentford FC proposals present a unique opportunity for the regeneration of the area in a manner consistent with my draft London plan and would offer much greater potential than the low-density warehouse scheme envisaged in the Chancerygate proposal.”
If the stadium project does not go ahead it could affect Brentford’s wider plans. The club is run by its supporters, Bees United, and they have the option to buy it from Ron Noades, the former club chairman, for £1, if they can guarantee the club’s £4m overdraft.
This plan may be feasible if the Bees can sell the club’s current home at Griffin Park for redevelopment.
A spokesperson for the mayor said the warehouse deal would be against his wishes but he does not have the power to intervene.