|Public Inquiry Completes Hearing Over Brentford FC New Stadium|
Hounslow Council compulsory purchase order was challenged
A public inquiry over Brentford FC's new stadium has concluded a two-week hearing following the challenge to a compulsory purchase order (CPO). First Industrial, which owns the last piece of ground needed for 'enabling development' the new football ground, had objected to the CPO from Hounslow Council.
During last week - the second of the hearing - evidence was heard from First Industrial and from a team which normally rivals Brentford FC on the football pitch.
The chairman of Bolton Wanderers Club said that Brentford FC was right to refuse to work with First Industrial Limited. His club was suffering delays to the completion of its academy project and he blamed this on FIL for failing to meet its contractual obligations.
Bolton would not enter in any further agreements with FIL, he said.
FIL said in its opening statements that the CPO was unjustified as housing for the new Brentford stadium did not necessarily have to be built beside the ground. It had agreed to transfer the portion of its land needed for parking and access to the stadium via a new bridge over the railway line, provided the CPO for the remainder of the land was withdrawn.
In the first week, the inquiry heard statements on behalf of Hounslow Council and Brentford Football Club. These were followed by testimony from Brendon Walsh and Shane Baker, Brian Burgess, Chris Gammon and Catherine Raynsford who collectively set out the history of the need for the CPO.
Written objections were made by amenity groups such as West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society and Strand on the Green Residents' Association.
Planning permission for the new 20,000 seat stadium for Brentford Football Club, in Lionel Road, along with a large enabling development of nearly 1,000 homes, has already been approved. A development agreement has also been signed with Willmott Dixon builders.
The CPO is needed primarily because First Industrial (FIL) have refused to sell their Capital Court site on Capital Interchange Way. The site has been empty for a number of years and Brentford FC are arguing that First Industrial are simply holding on to their land for a higher price, despite protracted negotiations between FIL and BFC. FIL have suddenly announced to the Secretary of State that they would like to be a development partner instead of making an outright sale.
The developers say that the whole project is not financially viable without Capital Court as it provides footprint of the bridge that goes over the railway providing access to the eastern end of the site and stadium.
The Planning Inspector will now write his report and recommendation which he submits to the Secretary of State Greg Clarke for a decision. If a decision is granted for the CPO then the stadium itself will take two years to be built.
The club had planned for work to begin on the new stadium site by the end of this year.
Brentford Football Club received detailed planning consent for this new community stadium in June 2014. Outline planning consent was also granted for an 'enabling development' of up to 910 new homes, 1,200 sqm of retail and a new 160 bed hotel alongside public and private amenity space on the land surrounding stadium site.
September 18, 2015