Quarterly Update on Lionel Road

Credit crunch delaying new stadium

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The team working on the Lionel Road project for Brentford Football Club has provided the following progress report:

Credit Crunch will have an impact on the new stadium plans
Since the last progress report in the autumn we have all witnessed the growing impact of the credit crunch on the world economy and the financial and other markets at home. With the country now officially in recession and the housing market substantially down, many people have been asking about the impact of all this on the plans to build the new Brentford Community Stadium at Lionel Road.

According to Brentford's project manager, Brian Burgess, the turbulent economic environment is causing the project to slow down. He said:

"Back in the summer we had a target to build the stadium by July 2012 so that it could be used by visiting Olympic teams for pre-games training. With the current slump in the housing market, this is no longer a realistic completion date, because the intention is to pay for the stadium with profits from selling new houses and flats that will be built on Griffin Park, Lionel Road and the site of the existing Fountains Leisure Centre.

"Our current target is to submit an application for outline planning consent in the first half of this year in order to achieve consent in principle for the various uses by the beginning of next year. Then, by early 2010, it may be clearer when the market will recover and we will be able to talk to our development partners about when construction might start on the stadium, which is the first stage. In the meantime we are looking at alternative funding sources but, given the amounts involved, this is very challenging."

The project team, led by Barratt Homes Ltd, are in discussions with Hounslow Council about the scope and programme for the outline planning application.

Meetings with local residents groups and other stakeholders are being stepped up, in order to take into account the views of local people. Details of the monthly meetings of the Lionel Road Liaison Group can be found on the project website www.brentfordcommunitystadium.com.

The Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd team are also mobilising the voluntary efforts of Bees supporters who have relevant design and project management skills to review the current stadium design to see if the cost of meeting the club's requirements can be reduced. "Its going to be a balancing act," said Burgess, "On one hand the cheaper the stadium the quicker we might be able to get it funded and built, but on the other hand there is no point in the football club moving unless the new stadium gives bigger and better facilities which generate more revenue. Achieving a sustainable business plan for the club is the main objective and this is what we are looking at in detail."

Brentford's link with the London 2012 Olympics will be maintained because even without the new stadium the club has been chosen as one of the pre-games training venues for visiting teams, who will be able to use Griffin Park and the Osterley training ground.

Cabinet Minister visits Lionel Road site
During his visit to Griffin Park and the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust on Tuesday 27 January, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, stopped off at the site in Lionel Road that is earmarked by the club for the new stadium.

After hearing about the plans and the impact of the credit crunch from Brian Burgess, the Secretary of State said: "The stadium project shows great vision for a club at the heart of its community. I have pledged to do whatever I can to help move it forward."

Background information
In order to create specific responsibility for this project the Brentford FC Ltd Board has set up a subsidiary company called Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd, which has two shareholders:

  • Brentford FC Ltd with a 99% interest
  • Brentford Football Community Society Ltd (Bees United) with 1 'golden' share, giving certain veto rights over the actions of Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Limited. In particular this golden share, which represents 1% of the issued share capital, gives Bees United the right to a veto over any issue or transfer of shares, the disposal of assets over a material level, the use of land for any purpose other than that of a sports stadium, the charging of assets, the implementation of any liquidation proceedings and the payment of any dividends. In addition Bees United have the right to appoint a minimum of one director to the board of Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Limited.

The directors of the company are Greg Dyke (Chairman), Brian Burgess, Chris Gammon (Company Secretary), Mike Power and Donald Kerr.

February 23, 2009