DESIGNERS working on the plans to redevelop Chelsea's stadium have started looking at new sites away from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea decided last year to put on hold their project to rebuild Stamford Bridge after owner Roman Abramovich was refused a UK visa, amid costs spiralling to £1billion.
But a report in the New Civil Engineer claims the team working on the concept have begun the work of trying to slash the budget in half in an attempt to revive it.
It is understood that club bosses are open to the idea of exploring options including moving away from Stamford Bridge, their home for 114 years.
The report claims Chelsea bosses have held informal talks with designers, and that there could be an appetite to restart the project if the costs involved were dramatically slashed.
Chelsea have previously considered moving away from the Bridge.
They had considered moving to Earls Court once the Exhibition Centre was demolished, but abandoned the plan in 2010.
The Blues then in 2012 made a bid to buy Battersea Power Station and convert it to a football stadium.
The landmark building's four chimneys would have been kept as part of a design which included a 15,000 seat single-tier south stand.
But the dreams were dashed when a Malaysian consortium bought the site for £400m
Other possible sites for a new Chelsea ground included White City, Battersea Power Station, Chelsea barracks and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Any move away from Stamford Bridge would need the support of fans' group the Chelsea Pitch Owners.
In 2011 the group, who own the freehold of Stamford Bridge, rejected Chelsea's bid to buy back the land.
Chelsea want to build a new 60,000-a-capacity ground to satisfy supporter demand and keep up with the rivals commercially.
A club spokesperson insists the stadium is "completely on hold" and stressed "there has been no time frame set for a reconsideration of this position".
The club had achieved planning permission to demolish their current 41,600-capacity ground and build a stunning new 60,000-venue on the same site.
The plans however were ridiculed on Twitter.
Key to the whole project was a design which would see decks built over the top of the rail lines which run behind two sides of the ground.
That would allow them to dramatically increase the footprint of the stadium, delivering a huge increase on the number of seats they can install.
If Chelsea are to remain in their current location in West London and deliver a big enough stadium, any new design would have to incorporate that overhang of the District Line and overground service.
So any reduction in costs would have to be found elsewhere, which is likely to mean the brick-cladding around the main structures could have to be shelved.
The current planning permission was granted two years ago, and remains valid so long as initial on the development work commences before January next year.
Chelsea would then have until January 2023 to begin construction work in earnest.
Source: Read Full Article