Chelsea Hoping To Block Earls Court Development

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Aerial view of Earls Court which will host Volleyball events during the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 26, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

Some interesting stuff is in the works regarding Chelsea's stadium move. For a long time, it's looked as thought Earls Court - for my money the most natural home of the Blues should we move from Stamford Bridge - was off-limits. Now, however, it seems as thought Chelsea are trying to sabotage the planned new development there. With the general plans for Capital & Counties' big project at Earls Court going up for approval at a Hammersmith and Fulham meeting today, the club has launched an objection to the scheme, hoping to block it before it begins:

The current applications fail to take advantage of the potential for a new strategic leisure, cultural and visitor attraction, such as might be provided by a new stadium with conference and exhibition spaces. (We) therefore consider the applications premature in advance of the EC&WKOA SPD and have requested that any decisions on the applications are deferred until the SPD has been adopted.

-Source: CoStar news.

So that's pretty interesting. My gut feeling is that Chelsea are probably out of luck here - the planners have given their recommendation that the original project be allowed to proceed, but it's nice to see the club be so aggressive about going after an area that could really be a great site for them. Earls Court is almost certainly a better place for Chelsea than Battersea, which is south of the Thames, and so the Blues should be fighting tooth and claw to get a stadium built there.

Remember that under the Financial Fair Play rules, Chelsea can vastly increase their revenues by moving into a new arena without actually impacting their relevant expenses, so a move away from Stamford Bridge is looking like an excellent solution to any money problems we may have. There was, of course, plenty of controversy as the team tried to buy out the Chelsea Pitch Owners last autumn, with many fearing the club might escape the area altogether, so the fact that the team is taking nearby sites so seriously for a proposed move is fantastic.

Hopefully the objection to the current plan for Earls Court holds. Why have a bunch of silly overpriced townhouses when you could have a stadium!

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