Chiswick Residents Express Concern Over New Brentford Stadium

Fears of pressure on parking and local transport network

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Predictions on traffic and pressure on local transport and parking due to the proposed new Brentford Football Club stadium should be revised upwards, acccording to a local group. The new stadium will have a capacity of 20,000 spectators.

The Lionel Road Liasion Group's recent meeting (January 22nd) heard that Brentford Football Club's traffic consultants expected over 30% of spectators to arrive by car. Only 200 parking spaces would be provided by the Club.

However, the meeting heard that these figures did not take into account further pressure on parking spaces arising out of new developments in Brentford or pressure which would be placed on Gunnersbury Station from further expansion at Chiswick Business Park.

The residents group in the Strand on the Green area believed that a major issue might well be the pre-match impact on the riverside and its pubs, rather than post-match activities.

The next liaison meeting will take place on Monday 18th March at 7.00pm at Griffin Park, followed by an exhibition on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the same week (21-23rd March).

Mr. Robert Colvill, chairman of the Strand on the Green Association told the meeting; "BFC are negotiating to acquire sites adjacent to the triangle, to allow an easier and potentially less high or dense residential development around the ground. Nevertheless, the present alignment of the design puts the greatest impact on the corner closest to Strand on the Green."

The main topic for discussion at the meeting was the preliminary report from the Brentford Football Club’s traffic consultants. They provided an analysis of the existing and predicted travel arrangements of the spectators, based on a number of 20,000 – the optimum number from the Club’s standpoint.

Points to emerge included:

• The Club will apply for outline permission, probably in May. This permission will define, among other things, the parameters for the three residential developments at the apexes of the triangle site, including their height and density. On the basis of the permission obtained, BFC will then seek commercial buyers for the residential sites.

• The current design includes 18 storey tower blocks at the NE and SE points and a 15 storey block at the NW corner. The three areas together are expected to include 900 residential units and a 150-bed hotel.

• Only some 200 parking spaces will be provided for the Club, and there will not be full provision for the residential areas.

• The traffic consultants’ predictions are based on the current background and do not take account of the increases to be expected from the new developments along the Brentford riverside, such as St Georges.

• Nor has any account yet been taken of the next phase of the Chiswick Park business development and its effect on Gunnersbury Station.

• They expect that some 30-35% of spectators will arrive by car, forecasting some 5,000 vehicle. If BFC are successful in their promotion ambitions, it could bring more fans from further afield and therefore a higher proportion of car-born spectators.

• During peak times on match days, car access to the residential blocks would be barred.

• Similarly, they would intend to block normal access to Kew Bridge station at the same times, to allow access only from the stadium via the bridge under Lionel Road. “Normal” passengers would need to enter the station (for both platforms) via the stadium access.

• The shortcomings of Kew Bridge station were discussed at length but without a clear conclusion. The width and height of the platforms were heavily criticized.

• There was some discussion about a new access point to Gunnersbury station from the southern end of the platforms via Wellesley Road.

• On the other hand, there was concern expressed about the foot passenger traffic on Wellesley Road and Stilehall Gardens, and the suggestion made that they might need to close the pedestrian crossing between Lionel Road and Wellesley Road at peak times, and encourage pedestirans to go to Gunnersbury via Chiswick High Road.

• They expect to close Lionel Road to vehicular traffic at peak times on match days, sending traffic directly up via the Chiswick Roundabout or to the M4 via Capital Interchange Way.

• It was clear that parking restrictions would become essential and different forms of CPZ in place near other grounds were discussed. For instance, a CPZ could be enforced only on match days.

• If fans conform to normal patterns, they will tend to converge on the ground over a two-hour period before a match, but disperse more rapidly afterwards, typically over a 20-40 minute period.

Mr. Robert Colville said; " The predictions must be revised to take account of the higher numbers expected after the Brentford developments and the expansion of Chiswick Park.

"There would be a substantial impact on the area at peak times, requiring many routes to be closed to both traffic and pedestrians. Many fans will inevitably meet at the riverside pubs on their way to the games and other events, although the crowds may well not linger locally to the same extent after the match.

"BFC are negotiating to acquire sites adjacent to the triangle, to allow an easier and potentially less high or dense residential development around the ground. Nevertheless, the present alignment of the design puts the greatest impact on the corner closest to Strand on the Green".

January 30, 2013