As expected, Hammersmith & Fulham Council passed a motion in a matter of minutes on Monday to prevent an injuction from delaying or even completely destroying Chelsea’s plans to rebuild Stamford Bridge.
The injuction, raised by the owners of two nearby cottages who are set to lose some of their light due to the new stadium, called for Chelsea to either redesign the entire Eastern half of the new stadium or stop the plans altogether.
The Council’s solution involves using their executive powers to acquire the part of the land that would be casting a shadow onto the home, and lease that back to the club. Since injunctions cannot be taken out against the Council, the family essentially will be forced to take the compensation payment for their loss of light. Chelsea had tried to negotiate with them for such compensation payment for several months now, just like with all others who are similarly affected. This particular family, who have lived there for half a century, were the only ones not willing to settle. Unfortunately for them, they will have no choice now. They could take the issue to court and argue that the Council’s intervention was illegal, but there’s little chance of that succeeding since there is clear language in the laws that allow the Council to do this after planning permission has been granted (which was indeed granted this time last year).
So, another hurdle successfully jumped over. Chelsea remain on course to start construction next year, with the club set to move out in 2020 and returning in 2024 or perhaps a bit before if everything goes perfectly.
In further good news, the Council’s full decision contains a hint that Chelsea are getting close to an agreement with Network Rail over their land interests (which the Council will then take over and lease back to the club). The agreements with the railways are key to Chelsea’s plans, since the very first step of the project involves the construction of decking over the railroads to the east and to the north.